A radar presentation will top discussion items when the City Council meets in regular session tonight at City Hall.

Councilman A.J. Mathieu is a strong proponent of the new weather technology, launched in 2003 by the National Science Foundation for the purpose of developing a dense network of small, low-cost, low-power radars that could collaboratively and adaptively sense severe thunderstorms, tornados and other hazardous weather conditions.

He will share information about the  CASA WX radar with the council, named for the Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere group that helped launch the program.

The council's work session begins at 6:30 p.m. and the regular meeting takes place at 7 p.m.

“We really want to encourage as many citizens as possible to come out and attend today's meeting,” Mathieu said. “We will be watching a video on CASA and all the things it can do. The technology is just incredible. I think people will be amazed at what this new weather tracking system can do.”

Scientists say that the CASA system will provide new data every minute, compared with every 5-6 minutes with the existing systems. The new system focuses on a more concise area, giving forecasters more detailed information to better monitor and track storms and precipitation.

Because the CASA system is designed to observe the atmosphere closer to the ground, the system requires an extensive network of radars, Mathieu said.


Other area municipalities and Johnson County are also studying the program.

“I want Joshua to have one of those radars,” Mathieu said. “Joshua is the perfect location for one and, right now, we're looking for a good place to put it. Considering that we had a tornado just last spring in our city, I think this new radar equipment would be invaluable to us.”

The cost to the city would be about $40,000-50,000, Mathieu estimates.