CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – When severe storms strike, seconds matter.  The recent tornadoes that claimed the lives of nearly two dozen people in the southern United States are a reminder that people need as much lead time as possible before a severe storm or tornado hits.  

WOWK and StormTracker 13 have invested in the newest technology to keep viewers safe, called StormTracker 13 VIPIR Real Time Radar.  

Advancements in radar scanning and delivery methods now allow our meteorologists to display the most critical Doppler radar information, with fresh scans in as little as 60 to 90 seconds.  That’s up to four times faster than older methods often employed by other weather systems. 

VIPIR stands for Volumetric Imaging and Processing of Integrated Radar.  The modern expression of VIPIR on StormTracker 13 contains multiple advantages to competitors from the real time speed of data to value-added products, such as wind shear detection for rotating winds to resampled assessment of the most dangerous part of the storm on the fly for better accuracy.  Other weather systems can be displaying radar data that is as much as 5 to 7 minutes old.  There are also elements that can detect debris if it’s in the air, as well as be able to more accurately project where the most damaging part of the storm is moving and at what speed.  

Other elements of StormTracker 13 VIPIR bring weather modeling into the system such as being able to project the best areas to see rotating updrafts in the next several hours.  The system features products showing where lightning is most likely and even the ability to project the most likely path for hail.  There are also several winter weather products that can keep closer tabs on estimated snowfall rates and amounts of what’s hitting the ground.  

WOWK-TV was the first in the region to bring you the HD Dual Polarization method of scanning for precipitation in the vertical and horizontal to be able to better determine the type of precipitation as well as the speed and direction of winds within a storm.  

But the new and most important ingredient will be the ability to bring you the most important data showing what’s happening near the ground more often and faster than ever before.  When the Doppler radar is placed in severe weather scan mode, VIPIR goes from being able to display the standard 14 low-level scans per hour to as many as 40 to 50 low-level scans per hour in real time.  Speed is a clear advantage in displaying the path and intensity of severe storms.  Value-added exclusive products such as the TripleThreat Analyzer showing the worst areas of wind, hail, and rain are added on top of the freshest data, creating the most powerful suite of radar tools on television.    

It’s all a part of WOWK-TV’s commitment to keeping you and your family safe and ahead of the storm.