ASHWAUBENON, Wisc (WBAY) It's known by many as the giant golf ball by Austin Straubel International Airport, but in reality, the National Weather Service radome plays a vital role in keeping us safe during severe weather.
Today, we joined WBAY Chief Meteorologist Steve Beylon received for a rare inside peek high in the sky.
For weather folks like Beylon, climbing 126 steps above Green Bay is almost like Christmas morning.
"I've never walked up into a National Weather Service radome like this, this is a rare treat," says Beylon.
Shut down temporarily for routine maintenance and upgrades, the giant 28-foot dish antenna helps pinpoint what's going on in the atmosphere by sending out rapid energy signals.
"The energy that bounces back is then measured to what was sent out and we have an idea then of the strength of that thunderstorm or the intensity of the snowfall that's happening," says Jeff Last, National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist.
Installed in the mid-90's, at 150 locations around the country, Doppler radar has dramatically improved accuracy, warnings and forecasts.
"They're invaluable when it comes to severe weather and without this radome and all that it can do, there's no way that TV stations like Channel 2 and other media facilities can help cover severe weather like we do, so this is absolutely fascinating," says Beylon.
It's life-saving weather technology, protected by what looks like a giant golf ball in the sky.
"And then you walk into this big cavernous dome and the machinery that goes into it, all the gears and the bolts and the drivers and everything, it's just enormous," says Beylon.