Weather radar network benefit model for tornadoes
February 21, 2019
A monetized tornado benefit model is developed for arbitrary weather radar network configurations. Geospatial regression analyses indicate that improvement of two key radar parameters--fraction of vertical space observed and cross-range horizontal resolution--lead to better tornado warning performance as characterized by tornado detection probability and false alarm ratio. Previous experimental results showing faster volume scan rates yielding greater warning performance are also incorporated into the model. Enhanced tornado warning performance, in turn, reduces casualty rates. In addition, lower false alarm ratios save cost by cutting down on work and personal time lost while taking shelter. The model is run on the existing contiguous United States weather radar network as well as hypothetical future configurations. Results show that the current radars provide a tornado-based benefit of ~$490M per year. The remaining benefit pool is about $260M per year that is roughly split evenly between coverage- and rapid-scanning-related gaps.