The NEXRAD radar network was developed by the National Weather Services in the 1980s and first deployed in the early 1990s. In the years since, advances in technology and communications have allowed them to improve the quality of radar products. The “Classic Products” in RadarScope date back to the original NEXRAD Level III product suite. Most of them of been superseded over the years by better alternatives. But they can still be useful for reference purposes or when using RadarScope on a low-bandwidth connection.
The classic one-hour rainfall product estimates the amount of rain that has fallen over the past hour. It’s an older, lower-resolution alternative to the Digital Accumulation Array product.
Storm Total Rainfall
The classic storm total rainfall product estimates the amount of rain that has fallen for an arbitrary period determined by the radar operator. It’s an older, lower-resolution alternative to the Digital Storm Total product.
Vertically Integrated Liquid
Vertically integrated liquid (VIL) estimates the amount of water in a column of air. High values for VIL can indicate heavy rainfall or the presence of hail. When VIL values fall rapidly, it may indicate a downburst. VIL is subject to radar limitations and seasonal dependencies, so it’s a tricky product to interpret. The classic VIL product is a older, lower-resolution alternative to Digital Vertically Integrated Liquid.
The echo tops product shows the maximum height of precipitation echoes detected by the radar between 5,000 and 70,000 feet that exceed 18 dBZ. Higher echoes are often associated with stronger areas of a storm. This product is useful for identifying strong updrafts, and a sudden drop can indicate the onset of a downdraft. Some storms are too close to the radar for the beam to see the top, so echo tops is often underestimated for strong storms near the radar. The classic echo tops product is an older, lower-resolution alternative to Enhanced Echo Tops.