NOAA/National Weather Service's Warning Decision Training BranchUnited States Department of Commerce
Commerce Learning Center

Radar & Applications Course News

The Radar & Applications Course has begun offering courses that start at multiple times during the fiscal year to better accommodate new NWS employees. If you have a newly hired forecaster in your forecast office who you want to sign up for the next available RAC, please complete the RAC Registration Form. Note: Local training facilitators (e.g., SOOs) must complete this form to register their students for RAC.

If you have any questions please contact Robert Prentice's e-mail address.

Training Events Planning Calendar
Residence/Virtual Courses
Web-Based Training Release Dates

Warning Decision Training Division

Office of Chief Learning Officer



NOTE: We recommend that you use either Google Chrome or Safari to complete the lessons.

Click on the panels below to access the content for each topic of the course. For most lessons, there will be two ways to access the training materials:

  • Web Version - Lesson streams from the WDTD web server & doesn't require login; or
  • LMS Version - Links to NWS Learning Center (aka: LMS) so NWS employees can get completion credit, but login is required to access

The lesson content is the same for each link. NWS employees enrolled in the RAC should use the LMS Version in link to ensure they receive completion credit. We have RAC handout PDFs available to print out that contains the slides and speaker notes for most lessons. Those handouts are available for each topic in the collapsible panels below with built in navigation for web viewing.

The outline below applies to the most recent RAC class (24-2). Earlier classes may have a different curriculum structure. NWS forecasters should complete the lessons directly from the curriculum on their transcript regardless of which class to which they belong.


Brief Description: This lesson provides an overview of the course to students and local facilitators. Each section of the course will be touched
Delivery Method: On-line Training Module
Approximate Completion Time: 15 minutes


AWIPS Convective Warning Fundamentals

Brief Description: The AWIPS Convective Warning Fundamentals pre-requisite for RAC uses an intro presentation on the Web, web pages with job sheets in the VLab (accessible from your live AWIPS), WES-2 Bridge exercises, and a locally-proctored Proficiency Exam.
Delivery Method: Web presentation, web pages accessible from your local AWIPS, videos on WES-2 Bridge
Approximate Completion Time: 15-30 hrs


Introduction to the WSR-88D System

Brief Description: This lesson is an overview of all of the main components and subcomponents of the WSR-88D system. In order to effectively operate the system and produce the best quality data, it is important to understand the basics of these six components and how data flows through the entire system.
Delivery Method: On-line Training Module
Approximate Completion Time: 1 hour


Principles of Radar

Brief Description: This topic consists of 23 lessons that cover a variety of scientific principles about how Doppler radar in general, and the WSR-88D in particular, work. These lessons will cover many technical details of how the WSR-88D collects data, quality controls it, and processes it into base and derived products.
Delivery Method:Asynchronous instructor-led web modules
Approximate Completion Time: 9 hours


Velocity Interpretation

Brief Description: This topic consists of three lessons on the proper interpretation of radial Doppler velocity patterns. These lessons will present how to interpret Doppler velocity patterns under uniform, non-uniform, ambiguous, and meteorologically complex conditions.
Delivery Method: Asynchronous instructor-led web modules
Approximate Completion Time: 60 minutes


Base and Derived Products

Brief Description: This topic will present the suite of Base and Derived Products and their applications. Also presented will be relevant information on the algorithms that generate the various products and displays.
Delivery Method: Asynchronous instructor-led web modules and Teletraining
Approximate Completion Time: 12-14 hours


Base Products (Part 1)

Reflectivity Derived Products (Part 2)

Velocity Derived Products (Part 3)

Dual-Polarization Derived Products (Part 4)

Precipitation Estimation Products (Part 5)

Summary (Part 6)

  • Base & Derived Products Instructor Led Training Review: GotoMeeting Session (Session Registration through the LMS) | PowerPoint Slides

Other Content

Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor (MRMS) Products

Brief Description: This topic covers the various Multi-Radar/Multi-Sensor (MRMS) products that are available to NWS forecasters at their WFO. These lessons will discuss the available products, key specifications of those products, and some relevant information on how they get generated.
Delivery Method: On-line training modules
Approximate Completion Time: 3 hours


Other Content:

Convective Storm Structure and Evolution

Brief Description: This topic describes some important thermodynamic and kinematic parameters developed to evaluate convective severe weather potential. The instruction tries to match the flow of the forecaster's analysis/interrogation process. The first lesson layouts what that workflow is. The subsequent lessons discuss how forecasters can identify storm type (and near storm environment), scan the CWA for potential threats, prioritize those possible threats, interrogate the threats more closely to then decide on what (if any) warning decision is necessary.
Delivery Method: On-line web module and asynchronous instructor-led web modules
Approximate Completion Time: 13 hours


Relevant Applied Performanc Drills for Preceding Content:

Relevant Applied Performance Drills for Preceding Content:

Relevant Applied Performance Drills for Preceding Content:

Relevant Applied Performance Drills for Preceding Content:

Relevant Applied Performance Drills for Preceding Content:

More on the Applied Performance Drills:

WDTD has incorporated several Applied Performance Drills (APDs) into the course that you complete on your local WES machine. We have positioned each APD in the outline above near the content that best applies to the tasks demonstrated in the videos. While each APD can be accessed and taken individually on your WES, the APDs are tracked as one learning object in the CLC. As a result you will want to print out a copy of the Applied Performance Drills worksheet (available at the link below or on the Applied Performance Drills data disc) ahead of time to write things down.

Each Applied Performance Drills lesson will contain a video which explains how to perform a specified convective storm analysis task. You will then perform the task yourself using the data case (2013May31_OUN_AFun) which has been pre-loaded into your WES-2 Bridge (AWIPS-2 simulator) by your training facilitator. Enter your answer into the Applied Performance Drills Worksheet. After you have completed all the Applied Performance Drills lessons, then copy your answers into the RAC Applied Performance Drills quiz on the Commerce Learning Center (CLC).

Flash Floods

Brief Description: This topic introduces the fundamental concepts behind flash flood meteorology and hydrology. Additionally, it discusses the products and tools available in AWIPS-2 that can be useful for flash flood decision-making.
Delivery Method: asynchronous instructor-led web modules
Approximate Completion Time: 4.5 hours (modules) + 3 hours (APDs)


Flash Flood Meteorology and its Tools:

Flash Flood Hydrology and Its Tools:

Warning Operations:

Applied Performance Drills:

To complete the Flash Flood Applied Performance Drills, you will need to use the following instructions to access the cloud-based WES instance.

Instructions for scheduling a WES cloud instance:

Instructions for launching the Flash Flood Applied Performance Drill WES case:

For each drill, there is a presentation showing you how to perform a task followed by instructions for completing the drill on your WES case. You will then take a quiz after each drill to receive credit. You will need to perform these steps for all 10 Flash Flood Applied Performance Drills.

If you have any questions, please contact us at:

  • Documentation:
  • Warning Fundamentals

    Brief Description: This topic provides the fundamental knowledge and skills required to issue effective warnings. Training includes skills for basic proficiency in using some AWIPS storm interrogation applications such as WarnGen, and recommended strategies for polygon creation and placement.
    Delivery Method: WES-2 Bridge exercises (tracked on CLC transcript), asynchronous instructor-led web modules, and teletraining
    Approximate Completion Time: 11 hours


    Humans in the Warning Process

    Brief Description: Covers the human side of warning operations and the importance of team communications and addressing your health during the warning process.
    Delivery Method: Instructor guided web modules
    Approximate Completion Time: 1 hour


    RAC Workshop Primer

    Brief Description: The Workshop Primer training and videos are accessed under the Applications->WDTD->WDTD Training Resources menu on the local WES-2 Bridge machine. The primer is taken the week before the workshop, and you follow along and practice with CAVE using the AWIPS procedures used in the workshop. After completing the training practice, fill out the assignment Google form linked through your CLC transcript in order to provide us with a self assessment that we will use in facilitating the workshop. WDTD will mark you complete following completion of the training and filling out the Google form assignment.
    Delivery Method: WES-2 Bridge exercises
    Approximate Completion Time: 4 hours


    • Storm Interrogation Workshop Primer: The Workshop Primer is taken on the WES, and to register completion, the student needs to fill out the Workshop Primer Survey using the link in their CLC transcript.
    RAC Workshop

    Brief Description: This workshop is a five day in-residence training that completes RAC. This workshop, which is held at the National Weather Center (in Norman, OK), gives RAC students the opportunity to apply the content they learned about in the previous seven topics during a variety of exercises and simulations, as well as participate in several presentations about current and future operational applications, tools, and research.
    Delivery Method: In-Residence Workshop
    Approximate Completion Time: 40 hours (5 days)