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Sensor networks are prone to congestion due to bursty and high-bandwidth data traffic, combined with wireless links and many-to-one data routing to a sink. Delayed and dropped packets then degrade the performance of the sensing application. In this paper, we investigate the value of separate handling of sensor control and data traffic, during times of congestion, in a closed-loop sensor network. We first show that prioritizing sensor control traffic over data traffic decreases the round-trip control-loop delay, and consequently increases the quantity and quality of the data collected by the sensor network. We then ground our analysis in a closed-loop meteorological sensor network, focusing on a storm-tracking application running over a network of X-band radars. Our application measures reflectivity (a measure of the number of scatterers in a unit volume of atmosphere known as a voxel) and tracks storms (i.e., regions of high reflectivity) using a Kalman filter. Considering data quantity, we show that prioritizing sensor control traffic increases the number of voxels, V, that can be scanned given a constant number of reflectivity samples, Nc, obtained per voxel. Here, utility increases linearly with the number of scanned voxels. Considering data quality, we show that prioritizing sensor control traffic increases the number of reflectivity samples, N, that can be obtained per voxel given a constant number of voxels, Vc, to scan. Here, since sensing accuracy improves only as a function of radicN, the gain in accuracy for the reflectivity estimate per voxel as N increases is relatively small except when prioritizing sensor control increases N significantly (such as when sensor control packets suffer severe delays). Because accuracy also degrades as a function of radicN, however, and because prioritizing sensor control traffic reduces the number of control packets dropped, data degradation is mitigated. Considering the performance of the tracking ap- plication, we then show that during times of severe congestion, not prioritizing sensor control can actually lead to tracking errors accumulating over time.