Weather radar network benefit model for nontornadic thunderstorm wind casualty cost reduction
September 28, 2020
An econometric geospatial benefit model for nontornadic thunderstorm wind casualty reduction is developed for meteorological radar network planning. Regression analyses on 22 years (1998–2019) of storm event and warning data show, likely for the first time, a clear dependence of nontornadic severe thunderstorm warning performance on radar coverage. Furthermore, nontornadic thunderstorm wind casualty rates are observed to be negatively correlated with better warning performance. In combination, these statistical relationships form the basis of a cost model that can be differenced between radar network configurations to generate geospatial benefit density maps. This model, applied to the current contiguous U.S. weather radar network, yields a benefit estimate of $207 million (M) yr^-1 relative to no radar coverage at all. The remaining benefit pool with respect to enhanced radar coverage and scan update rate is about $36M yr^-1. Aggregating these nontornadic thunderstorm wind results with estimates from earlier tornado and flash flood cost reduction models yields a total benefit of $1.12 billion yr^-1 for the present-day radars and a remaining radar-based benefit pool of $778M yr^-1.