More than weather: Here are some other things seen on radar

How equipment can detect rockets, bugs, bats

Usually, meteorologists use radar to help tell the weather story, but it picks up a lot more than just rain.

News 6 Chief Meteorologist Tom Sorrells talked more about it on Talk To Tom.

Laura Sands sent him this question.

“Firstly, love your show. Not really sure if this is a weather question or not. Maybe more curiosity. I like how accurate your radar views are daily. But I have always wondered what does the radar imaging show when a rocket goes up at the coast? Maybe other space nerds like me would like to see that as well. Thanks, Tom have a great day!”

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“It depends on how quick we are in cranking up the gain and how much is coming out of the particular rocket,” Sorrels said. “Sometimes if it’s a huge rocket launch, we will get a little stream and we can see it on the satellite, or crank the gain up and pick it up on radar or both. Sure can. A visible satellite shot will pick up a contrail of a rocket and sometimes our radar can pick up something going on at the coast too.”

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Sorrells said his weather equipment also picks up wildlife from time to time.

“It picks up birds. We can crank the radar gain way up and pick up bugs, sometimes a bug migration all of a sudden, or bats. I’ve seen people who live in areas like Austin, Texas that have a huge bat problem. When the bats fly out at night, they can crank the gain up on the radar and track the bats flying out of the tunnels,” he said.

Learn more about the weather in Central Florida on Talk to Tom. You can watch every Thursday on News 6 at 5:30 p.m. or anytime on News 6+.

You can also submit questions for the show here.

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About the Author:

Tiffany produces the News 6+ Takeover at 5:30 p.m., Florida's Fourth Estate and Talk to Tom.