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Lott , Pickering seek funding for Meridian weather radar

By By Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
Dec. 19, 2000
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., will seek funding to restore a weather radar system in Meridian that could have warned residents of Saturday's impending tornado.
Lott spokesman Lee Youngblood said the senator wants to see Doppler weather radar back in place at Meridian's Key Field. The National Weather Service closed its office at Key Field in 1995, dismantled the radar system then in place, and moved it to the University of Texas.
Officials of the National Weather Service in Jackson say no warning was posted due to human error not because of a lack of radar.
Dr. Kathy Baxter, who researched potential Doppler radar location problems with one of her 1997 Meridian Community College classes, said Meridian needs its own radar if the area is to be adequately covered.
Baxter has argued the visibility of the Meridian area is hindered by 2,000 foot ridge.
Stefkovich said the misjudgment could have happened from any area of the same distance.
Meridian Mayor John Robert Smith said he contacted U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Lott asking for radar to be restored to the Meridian area.
Smith referred to a recent F-2 tornado that struck Jasper and Newton counties, damaging homes and businesses there  also without warning.
Baxter said she also plans to pursue the issue with state leaders.
Marianne Todd is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail her at mtodd@themeridianstar.com.

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