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franklin county times

New bill includes funding to move Doppler radar

By By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
July 5, 2001
An appropriations bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives includes funding to move a Doppler radar from Keesler Air Force Base to Rankin County, giving East Central Mississippi better coverage.
The announcement came from U.S. Rep Chip Pickering, R-Miss., at a press conference held today at his downtown Meridian office.
The Commerce, Justice, State and Judiciary Appropriations bill includes $3.1 million for the National Weather Service to move the radar to the Rankin County site.
Pickering said the radar will replace the current Doppler radar tower at the Jackson International Airport, and Keesler will be covered by other radar systems on base.
Many local residents and officials were concerned when Meridian's radar was dismantled in April 1995 and have been working since then to get radar back.
The new site in Rankin County will provide coverage for existing areas plus improved coverage for Lauderdale County and East Mississippi. In the past, Pickering said, this area has had gaps in its Doppler coverage.
Ron Trumbla, public affairs officer for the Southern Region, National Weather Service, said last month National Weather Service officials are considering several sites, including one in Brandon.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.