Real-Time Radar

Radars may be switched off without notice. I do this if the area of interest has moved outside the domain and to cut down on wasteful processing power. However, the radars over Florida will mostly remain active. If a radar has stopped updating, the radar site may be experiencing technical difficulties. You can monitor the status of any radar site at this website.

Eight different Volume Coverage Patterns (VCPs) are available which control the sampling rate and elevation angles of the radar. The two most basic radar states are clear air mode and precipitation mode. I plot the lowest elevation angles as those are the most useful.

VCPs 31, 32, and 35 represent clear air mode. These VCPs are the default setting for quiescent conditions without storms, but they can be helpful for detecting light precipitaton, such as snow, due to their high sensitivity. Typical volume scans last 10 minutes.

VCPs 12, 112, 121, 212, and 215 are the various precipitation modes. VCP 12 provides dense vertical sampling, useful for severe thunderstorms. VCP 212 updates quickly and is helpful for detecting distant storms far from the radar site. VCP 121 is primarily used in tropical systems because it provides improved doppler velocity data. VCP 215 is known as 'general surveillance' mode as it features good lower and upper level vertical sampling. Typical volume scans last 5 minutes.

Sometimes a radar site updates more frequently than 5 or 10 minutes. This is because the radar site has been placed into SAILS (Supplemental Adaptive Intra-Volume Low-Level Scan) mode which adds additional lower level scans to the main volume scan.

Images may be up to 10 minutes old and are stored for 5 days.

You are welcome to share and manipulate the images as long as there is some form of citation.

Data is retrieved from NOMADS.

12 October 2021: Improved GIF creation options and some overlays added.

2 October 2021: New GIF creation options.

13 September 2021: GIFs are now 50% smaller in size.

5 February 2021: Wide screen and full screen support. Images are now stored for 5 days.

11 September 2019: Radar thumbnails are cleaner.

22 July 2019: Minor change to plot aesthetics. This update will hopefully fix skipped frames.

2 July 2019: Animations have been switched over to Javascript.

24 June 2019: 30 frame animations are no longer produced as the website undergoes upgrades. Images are now stored for 10 days.

7 July 2018: Radar plots are higher resolution, but images are now stored for 15 instead of 30 days.

3 June 2018: Radar plotting is hopefully faster.

22 May 2018: Radars now include lakes.

13 May 2018: Site locations on radars are more accurate.

15 March 2018: Updated all sections.

12 March 2018: Added an update log.

11 March 2018: Appearance changed to current look (w3-powered).

10 March 2018: Website created. Real-time radar section added.