Expert Meteorologist Howard Altschule regularly uses Doppler radar images because they are useful for locating all forms of precipitation, accumulated rainfall totals, potential areas of wind damage, surface boundaries and even tornadoes and hail. The most common use for doppler radar images in Forensic Meteorology is to identify when and where rain or snow was falling over a specific incident location. Using Base Reflectivity images, as the weather radar unit sends a pulse of energy into the atmosphere, if any precipitation is intercepted by the energy, part of the energy is scattered back to the radar. These return signals, called “radar echoes”, are assembled to produce radar images. The location of the colored radar echoes indicates where precipitation is falling and the various colors indicate the intensity of the precipitation through the color code key on the right side of the radar image itself. Doppler radar images are received approximately every 6 minutes and can determine if precipitation was falling at the incident location and if so, when it started and stopped. They are often instrumental in many types of cases that we work on.
This Doppler radar image shows that it’s snowing in Central Park (Manhattan) and Newark, New Jersey. But a few miles away in Staten Island and Elizabeth, New Jersey, it's not snowing at all. Many times the snow will start and stop much earlier or later than indicated at the airports. Sometimes the snow will never even reach the location of your accident. We will find out!!
This radar image shows a Strong thunderstorm with torrential rain occurring when a Motor Vehicle Accident occurred. Was rain falling when the accident occurred? Was unsafe speed a factor given the rainfall intensity? How long had it been raining before the accident occurred? Was hydroplaning possible? How much rain fell? What was the Visibility? We Will Answer Your Questions!!