There was an Interagency Agreement this week between the State, Hunt County and Texas A&M University-Commerce in regards to the installation of a CASA radar system at Texas A&M Commerce. CASA stands for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere. It is a partnership that brings together universities, industry, and local governments to develop hyper local weather monitoring networks.
The CASA network uses radar units the size of a microwave oven with a 36-inch dish, deployed on rooftops or cell phone towers, compared to the current generation of larger radars mounted atop 150-foot towers. CASA’s smaller, nimbler X-band radar units are most effective when networked in groups. Because they are mounted low, there is no “blind spot,” where tornadoes form close to the ground, as with the older radar generation.
The CASA weather networks can be used to identify tornadoes faster and help first responders be dispatched faster. Many of these systems have been installed around the DFW area with great success. The hope is that we get a more accurate reading of local weather than the current systems in DFW can provide. The project is scheduled to be completed in 2018.