Radar spots Hawaiian volcano eruption

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Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS) Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air. (Source: USGS)
BIG ISLAND, HI (3TV/CBS 5) -

It's been a wild couple of weeks in Hawaii as volcanic activity has kept the world's attention captive.

Early Thursday the show continued when the Kilauea volcano's summit rocketed ash and smoke thousands of feet into the air.

While this was visible to many on the ground, a very important weather tool also was able to spot it.

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[APP USERS: Click or tap here to view photo]

Doppler radar!

Check out the image below from the National Weather Service.

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It shows a 3-D scan from the radar showing ash and smoke being lofted high into the air.

Emissions from the volcano reached as high as 12,000 feet in the air.

[RELATED: Ash clouds from Kilauea volcano prompt red alert on Hawaii's Big Island]

That is easily as tall as some of the monsoon thunderheads we see here in the summer in Arizona.

The radar sensing the smoke plume is no different from it sensing a thunderstorm.

[READ MORE: Summit of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano erupts, launching plume of ash and smoke]

The radar beam zips through the air. When it hits something like rain, it bounces back to the radar terminal showing something is out there.

In most situations what the radar “sees“ are meteorological targets such as rain, snow and hail.

But in some situations, like with this volcano, the radar can see other things.

[APP USERS: Click or tap here to view image]

In some cases, a radar can see bugs, bird migrations, cars on a freeway and even a train passing by!

Pretty neat stuff!

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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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Ian SchwartzAn Arizona native, born and raised in Mesa, and graduate of Arizona State University, Ian Schwartz is thrilled to be back in the Valley of the Sun.

Click to learn more about Ian.

Ian Schwartz
Wake Up Meteorologist

After starting his journalism career in Illinois, Ian worked in Albuquerque and later Sacramento. In the field as a reporter, he has covered flash floods, blizzards, tornadoes, wildfires, drought and just about everything the weather can offer. After spending some time reporting, Ian decided to further his education and completed Mississippi State's broadcast meteorology program. Ian loves everything about Arizona weather from winter storms in the north to the monsoon in the south. When Ian isn't giving you the forecast in the morning, you can find him hiking, traveling and exploring everything our great state has to offer. If you have any weather pictures or want to say hi, drop him an email or connect online.

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