Bay News 9 to unveil “revolutionary” new weather radar

ST. PETERSBURG — Bay News 9, Bright House Network’s 24-hour cable news channel, today was to unveil a new weather radar system, which its officials said was the first of its kind.

Bay News 9 teamed up with Baron Services, operating primarily from Huntsville, Ala., to develop the Klystron 9 system. Officials described it as “revolutionary” in its ability to detect the intricacies of a storm.

The new radar packs more than a million watts of power and employs a patented calibration technique that yields extreme accuracy, according to station officials and representatives of Baron Services.

The new system is based upon technology developed in the U.S. space program and in military applications. It can detect storms farther away and can produce more detailed precipitation information than current radar systems, they said.

“We always have and will continue to be 100 percent committed to providing our viewers with the very best weather forecasting technology,” said Terry Dolan, vice president and general manager of Bay News 9, which serves more than a million cable households in the Tampa Bay area.

Bay News 9 officials declined to say how much the system cost, except to say that it “was not inexpensive.”

Baron Services, which holds numerous weather technology patents, picked Bay News 9 as its partner in developing the new radar in part because Florida’s weather is varied and features frequent storms, officials said.

“We think it will do very well in tropical storms,” said Bay News 9 meteorologist Mike Clay during a press conference.

Clay demonstrated the weather radar’s accuracy by pinpointing the speed of individual cars on a computer screen as they sped across the nearby Howard Frankland Bridge.

“With Klystron, we have jumped the curve, “ said Bob Baron, president and chief executive officer for Baron Services. “It has more power, more precision and more capability than any other commercial Doppler weather radar in the world.”

Sara Kennedy, Bradenton Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 708-7908 or at skennedy@bradenton.com.