Hampton University’s new $5 million weather antenna will keep you safe during severe weather

Posted at 4:11 PM, Oct 07, 2016

HAMPTON, Va. -  A new $5 million weather antenna at Hampton University will keep you more safe during severe weather.

There are only nine others like the antenna in the country.

Hampton University leaders say they just happened to receive this expensive piece of technology one week before they knew anything about Hurricane Matthew.

The antenna can get images from 2,000 miles away.

“Having the ability to engage in big data analytics, the Hampton University Direct Broadcast Antenna will provide the residents of Hampton Roads with information in real time about approaching hurricanes, tornadoes and other severe weather events. This means that Hampton University will be providing information to the Hampton Roads community about these devastating storms, before any other means of forecasting,” said HU President Dr. William Harvey.

The National Weather Service, NASA, and the military will get information in minutes instead of up to two hours like it used to take, according to the university.

“The Direct Broadcast System that we are installing is a great way for Hampton University to make a positive impact on the lives and livelihoods of the people in our community,” said Dr. William B. Moore, Director of HU: CARE, and Associate Professor in the HU School of Science, “Our ability to use this facility to help the weather service and local officials in emergency management positions to make decisions that they would need to make for the eventual case when a real big hurricane does head our way.”

This new technology will put Hampton Roads at an advantage. There are only nine like it across the country, according to the university.

“We filled in the gap on the East Coast in between Washington and Baltimore area and Miami … we will have much better coverage,” said Moore.

Better coverage to be better prepared if severe weather comes our way.

According to Hampton University:

Data brought down by the antenna will be publicly available. HU students looking to get involved in antenna-based research should get in touch with the Hampton University Center for Atmospheric Research and Education (HU:CARE).

The antenna is part of HU:CARE, a research center funded by NASA. HU:CARE also includes faculty from the Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (APS) and Physics Departments, as well as partners from NASA Langley Research Center, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Maryland. HU’s Dr. William Smith, Distinguished Professor within APS and an active satellite and airborne experimentalist, has been the driving force behind getting the antenna to campus.

This technology could also potentially service NASA Langley Air Force Base, the Department of Defense, the National Weather Service at Wakefield, local television broadcast companies, and many other organizations.