Fort Myers’ WINK upgrades doppler with dual-polarization radar

WINK News, serving Ft. Myers and Southwest Florida, has launched a new dual-polarization radar system.

Dubbed WINK Doppler 3X, the radar is the billed as the most powerful in the region with one million watts of power – transmitting and receiving pulses in both a horizontal and vertical orientation.

WINK notes less powerful doppler radars have difficulties seeing the bottom half of storms, beneath the pulse of beams emitted from the radar. 

Matt Devitt, WINK chief meteorologist, notes this is especially important for catching tornadoes and other formations at the base of a cloud.

“It’s very powerful,” Devitt said in a statement. “We’ll be able to see all of the storm … We’ll get almost instantaneous updates.”

The new system is located near Babcock Ranch on the same property as WINK’s transmitter.

“Our radar is over a rural section of Charlotte County,” Devitt said, “so our blank space is in a rural section that doesn’t impact as many people compared to (other) radars. That means we can provide radar coverage to more people than they can,” referencing the fact that many radar systems have a so-called “dead zone” that means portions of the area immediately surrounding the tower can’t be accurately scanned.

Before WINK’s investment in the new system, the nearest dual-polarization radar systems were in Tampa and Miami.