|WHAT ARE ECHO TOPS AND
METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
An echo top is the radar indicated top of an area of precipitation. Once the precipitation intensity drops
below a threshold value as the radar beam samples higher elevations of a storm or precipitation region
then the echo top is located. The cloud top will often extend above the echo top since clouds are more
difficult to detect by radar.
Echo tops can be used to assess the intensity of a storm. The rule of thumb is that the higher the echo tops
are in a storm then the stronger the
updraft is that produced that storm. A stronger updraft makes
convective wind gusts and
large hail more likely. When there are several storms on radar, the ones with the higher echo
tops may be the most likely ones to produce the most significant
severe weather (convective wind gusts and hail).