961203: Milestone-WSR-57 Radars Decommissioned

The last WSR-57 Radar was decommissioned on 12/2/96. Following is the
official announcement.

NOAA WEATHER RADIO MESSAGE
CHARLESTON ... SC ... WSR-57 RADAR DECOMMISSIONING
 
DECEMBER 2... 1996 IS A SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE IN THE HISTORY OF
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AS WE DECOMMISSION THE CHARLESTON
WSR-57 WEATHER RADAR, THE LAST OF ITS KIND TO BE TAKEN OFF LINE  
IN FAVOR OF OUR NEW DOPPLER RADAR SYSTEMS.
 
DESIGNED IN 1957 USING WORLD WAR II TECHNOLOGY, THE OLD
CHARLESTON RADAR WAS PART OF A NETWORK OF 66 UNITS THAT SERVED
THE NATION WELL FOR MORE THAN 35 YEARS.  FOR THE FIRST TIME, A 
FORECASTER HAD AN ELECTRONIC PICTURE, ALBEIT PRIMITIVE BY TODAY'S
STANDARD, OF APPROACHING STORM SYSTEMS.
 
THE NEW DOPPLER RADARS PRODUCE IMAGES SIMILAR TO A CAT SCAN AS
THE SYSTEM CAN DISSECT APPROACHING WEATHER SYSTEMS AT DIFFERENT  
ELEVATIONS AND PRODUCE BRILLIANT COLOR-CODED PORTRAITS OF A 
STORM'S MOST INTENSE AREAS.  HAIL CAN BE DISTINGUISHED FROM RAIN
AND THE MACHINE CAN TELL HOW MUCH PRECIPITATION A STORM DROPPED
IN A GIVEN AREA.  FOR THE FIRST TIME, WE CAN WARN THE PEOPLE OF A
TORNADO, EVEN BEFORE AN APPROACHING STORM PRODUCES ONE.  THE
SYSTEM WILL EVEN SOUND AN ALARM TO ALERT FORECASTERS TO SEVERE
WEATHER.

AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE'S MODERNIZATION
PROGRAM ... CHARLESTON'S NEW RADAR IS PART OF A NETWORK OF 123 
DOPPLER SYSTEMS TO BE CONSTRUCTED NATIONWIDE.  WITH NEW WEATHER
FORECAST OFFICES SUCH AS OUR FACILITY HERE AT THE CHARLESTON
INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ... THE UNITED STATES ENJOYS THE MOST  
TECHNOLOGICALLY-ADVANCED WEATHER FORECAST SYSTEM IN THE WORLD.
 
IN 1959, WHEN THE OLD CHARLESTON RADAR WAS INSTALLED ... A
COMPUTER FILLED AN ENTIRE ROOM, HULA HOOPS WERE IN VOGUE ... AND
DETROIT CANCELLED THE EDSEL AFTER TWO YEARS OF SLUGGISH SALES.
AND ... LIKE AUTOMOBILES WITH DRIVER-OPERATED LUBRICATION SYSTEMS
AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT RELYING ON VACUUM TUBES ... THE OLD
CHARLESTON RADAR ... SERIAL NUMBER 16 ... HAS BEEN DISPLACED BY
TECHNOLOGY.  WITH THE MANY ADVANCED CAPABILITIES OF THE NEW
DOPPLER RADAR, NOT TOO MANY OF US WILL MISS THE OLD ONE.
 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AND ITS    
MODERNIZATION EFFORT CAN BE FOUND ON THE INTERNET AT
 WWW.NWS.NOAA.GOV/MODERNIZE