I grew up with radar manuals that talked about scallops, commas, hooks, and the like and spent most of my radar-using career looking for scallops, hooks, commas and the like. I don't think it did much good. The concept of looking for shadows makes a lot of sense and Honeywell Training Course provides a good tutorial.
Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.
Figure: Stratus rain, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 11.
Stratus Rain is normally no higher than 15,000 feet and can spread for hundreds of miles; it is not particularly dangerous.
Airborne radar cannot differentiate between light rain and the ground when at high altitude looking down. The reflectivity of the ground, especially if it is wet, greatly exceeds the water droplets. Once the aircraft has descended and is looking up at the rain, the problem goes away.
Figure: Stratus rain summary, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 6, Slide 7.
Figure: Thunderstorm, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 9.
The highest concentration of rain and rain-covered hail is in what meteorologists call the "bright band," typically located between 8,000 and 17,000 feet. This area offers the highest reflectivity, where the most information to radar is available. The beam must be pointed into this area to properly evaluate the storm's danger.
Figure: Super-cell thunderstorm, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 10.
A Super-Cell Thunderstorm is much wider than an ordinary thunderstorm and can often be identified by the radar shadow it creates. (The green arc above is ground clutter, but this ground clutter doesn't show behind the super-cell thunderstorm which obscures all radar returns from behind.)
Figure: Example weather targets, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 12.
Figure: Blind alley, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 15.
Figure: Upwind deviation, from Honeywell Radar Training Course, Part 2, Slide 16.
Whenever possible, deviate to the upwind side since a thunderstorm can create downwind eddy currents (turbulence).
Photo: From Eddie's cockpit.
Photos: Views from the right seat, from Eddie's cockpit.
Honeywell Airborne Weather Radar Training, Rev E, 12/09/02, Honeywell Inc. Commercial Flight Systems Group, Phoenix, AZ.
Honeywell Primus 880 Pilot's Guide, Pub. No. A28-1146-102-03, Revised January 2006, Honeywell International Inc. Commercial Electronic Systems, Glendale, AZ.
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