Breakdown: The science behind doppler radar ‘colors’

Updated: Apr. 18, 2019 at 1:44 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The First Alert Weather Team is fortunate to have one of the most powerful radars in the Mid-South. First Alert Doppler 5, located in West Memphis, Arkansas, is a million-watt radar scanning the skies looking for storms, hail, snow and more.

When you see First Alert Doppler 5 paint a image on your TV screen, did you know that the colors have different meanings?

In this episode of the Breakdown, we are going to explain the science behind the different “colors” a radar shows on a map and why some colors can be different but most of the colors used are the same.

Radar Color Meanings
Radar Color Meanings(WMC Action News 5)

Light green= Light rain or rain

Dark green= Light to moderate rain

Yellow= Moderate rain

Orange= Heavy Rain

Red= Very Heavy Rain or Rain & Hail

Purple= Extremely heavy rain or hail

Winter Weather Colors

White or Blue= Snow

Pink= Freezing Rain or Sleet or Both

Sometimes snow can show up as yellow or orange as the radar may think it is small hail

Often times people think of red as severe but this isn’t necessary the case. We should think of this colors in terms of intensity, not severity.

The next time you see a image of First Alert Doppler 5 on television, or on the First Alert Weather App, you will better understand what the plethora of colors mean when you see the updating images of rain, snow or other weather events falling from the sky.

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