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Wind turbines interfere with radar

There’s the potential for plane propellers and the spinning turbines to look very similar on radar, causing potential problems for air control and that’s exactly why the city is keeping a close eye on future proposed sites.

We’ve all seen those windmills out by Portland. They generate energy for much of the Coastal Bend.

But they can also generate false readings on radar. “This is indicating between Odem and Gregory and Taft – there they are,” Scott Cordero, with the National Weather Service said as he pointed at radar on his computer. It’s what he sees on his radar daily.

The red dots on the computer screen would normally indicate wind rotation which is what you see in a severe storm or tornado. But, these dots represent something else, the wind farm in San Patricio County.

“We’re so used to seeing then over there. We know when it’s a false detection of a true rotation in the atmosphere,” Cordero explained. To the trained meteorologist, the difference is pretty obvious.

“At 2.5 and 3.4, they’re gone,” Cordero explained, showing us radar at higher elevations.

Another element that helps, he explained, is that when wind speeds get high enough, the company running the turbine stops them for safety. That helps meteorologists monitor tornadoes.

“The tornado actually went through the windfarms,” he said of the January tornado we saw here in the Coastal Bend.

But, that’s not the only problem... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

We’ve all seen those windmills out by Portland. They generate energy for much of the Coastal Bend.

But they can also generate false readings on radar. “This is indicating between Odem and Gregory and Taft – there they are,” Scott Cordero, with the National Weather Service said as he pointed at radar on his computer. It’s what he sees on his radar daily.

The red dots on the computer screen would normally indicate wind rotation which is what you see in a severe storm or tornado. But, these dots represent something else, the wind farm in San Patricio County.

“We’re so used to seeing then over there. We know when it’s a false detection of a true rotation in the atmosphere,” Cordero explained. To the trained meteorologist, the difference is pretty obvious.

“At 2.5 and 3.4, they’re gone,” Cordero explained, showing us radar at higher elevations.

Another element that helps, he explained, is that when wind speeds get high enough, the company running the turbine stops them for safety. That helps meteorologists monitor tornadoes.

“The tornado actually went through the windfarms,” he said of the January tornado we saw here in the Coastal Bend.

But, that’s not the only problem these turbines can cause. They also mess with readings for rainfall. “We remove that geographical area and then we look a scan above the lowest elevation and look above and see what the actual rain fall is.”

But for planes, we’re told the problem can be more complex.

There’s the potential for plane propellers and the spinning turbines to look very similar on radar, causing potential problems for air control and that’s exactly why the city is keeping a close eye on future proposed sites.

There are five proposed sites for future wind turbine farms: Trade Winds Palo Alto East, Petronila, Chapman Ranch, Trade Winds Pasol Alto West, and Riviera.

The city plans to coordinate with the Navy and make sure there is not a conflict with Navy flight training plans.

They tell us they are not anti-wind farm, but the Navy brings in about $1.5 billion and they want to make sure they find farms that do not impact that revenue.


Source: http://www.offshorewind.biz...

APR 19 2011
http://www.windaction.org/posts/4132-wind-turbines-interfere-with-radar
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