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S. 2058 (114th): To require the Secretary of Commerce to study the coverage gaps of the Next Generation Weather Radar of the National Weather Service and to develop a plan for improving radar coverage and hazardous weather detection and forecasting.

The text of the bill below is as of Sep 15, 2016 (Reported by Senate Committee).


II

Calendar No. 629

114th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2058

[Report No. 114–351]

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

September 17, 2015

(for himself and Mr. Tillis) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

September 15, 2016

Reported by , with an amendment

Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert the part printed in italic

A BILL

To require the Secretary of Commerce to maintain and operate at least one Doppler weather radar site within 55 miles of each city in the United States that has a population of more than 700,000 individuals, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Metropolitan Weather Hazards Protection Act of 2015.

2.

Requirement for operation of Doppler weather radar sites near large cities

(a)

Requirement

Beginning not later than 450 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall—

(1)

maintain and operate at least one Doppler weather radar site within 55 miles of each city in the United States that has a population of more than 700,000 individuals; and

(2)

ensure that each radar maintained and operated near a city described in paragraph (1) is available to the office of the National Weather Service that provides services to such city.

(b)

Standards

The Secretary shall ensure that each radar maintained and operated under subsection (a) conforms with the same standards that apply to radars operated by the Secretary, acting through the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, including standards relating to the use of dual-polarization technology or other technologies included in Weather Surveillance Radar, 1988, Doppler (WSR–88D) radars.

(c)

Considerations

When determining the location for constructing a radar to meet the requirements of subsection (a), the Secretary shall take into consideration nearby counties that have populations of more than 130,000 and do not otherwise have radar beam coverage below 10,000 feet from Weather Surveillance Radar, 1988, Doppler (WSR–88D) radars.

(d)

Report

(1)

In general

Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report detailing the Doppler weather radar sites that need to be constructed or acquired in order to meet the requirement of subsection (a).

(2)

Contents

The report submitted under paragraph (1) shall include the following:

(A)

Feasible locations for placement and construction of radar sites, determined by the Secretary to provide the necessary meteorological capabilities to best protect a city described in subsection (a).

(B)

A timeline for when construction or acquisition of each radar site will be complete.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Metropolitan Weather Hazards Protection Act of 2015.

2.

Study on gaps in NEXRAD coverage and requirement for plan to address such gaps

(a)

Study on gaps in NEXRAD coverage

(1)

In general

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Commerce shall complete a study on gaps in the coverage of the Next Generation Weather Radar of the National Weather Service (known as NEXRAD).

(2)

Elements

Under the study required by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall—

(A)

identify areas in the United States with limited or no Next Generation Weather Radar coverage below 6,000 feet above ground level of the surrounding terrain;

(B)

for the areas identified under subparagraph (A), Charlotte, North Carolina, and surrounding counties, central Washington State, northwest New Mexico, and Columbus, Ohio, and surrounding counties—

(i)

identify the key weather effects for which prediction would improve with improved radar detection;

(ii)

identify additional sources of observations for high impact weather that were available and operational for such areas on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act, including Terminal Doppler Weather Radar (known as TDWR), air surveillance radars of the Federal Aviation Administration, and cooperative network observers; and

(iii)

assess the feasibility and advisability of efforts to integrate and upgrade Federal radar capabilities in such areas that are not owned or controlled by of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including radar capabilities of the Federal Aviation Administration and the Department of Defense;

(C)

assess the feasibility and advisability of incorporating State-operated and other non-Federal radars into the operations of the National Weather Service;

(D)

identify options to improve radar coverage in the areas identified under subparagraph (A); and

(E)

estimate the cost of, and develop a timeline for, carrying out each of the options identified under subparagraph (D).

(3)

Report

Upon the completion of the study required by paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a report on the findings of the Secretary with respect to the study.

(b)

Plan to improve radar coverage

Not later than 30 days after the completion of the study required by subsection (a)(1), the Secretary shall develop and submit to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation of the Senate and the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the House of Representatives a plan to improve radar coverage in the areas identified under subsection (a)(2)(A) by integrating, and upgrading where practicable, additional observation solutions to improve hazardous weather detection and forecasting.

(c)

Requirement for third-party reviews regarding plan to improve radar coverage

The Secretary shall seek third-party reviews on scientific methodology relating to, and the feasibility and advisability of, implementing the plan developed and submitted under subsection (b), including the extent to which warning and forecast services of the National Weather Service would be improved by additional Next Generation Weather Radar coverage.

September 15, 2016

Reported with an amendment