Addressing the Weather Radar Gap in Douglas County – Alexandria Echo

Addressing the Weather Radar Gap in Douglas County – Alexandria Echo

ALEXANDRIA — Starting Jan. 1, public safety officials assigned to Douglas County will have access to high-resolution X-band weather radar. This X-band weather radar can see low-level snow, rain and tornado activity moving into the area.

There are 72 of 87 counties, including parts of Douglas County, that fall within the weather radar gap. These areas are locations where the National Weather Service's NEXRAD-S band radars cannot provide low-altitude coverage. Emergency managers in Grant and Kandiyohi counties have begun working with a company called Climavision to help fill this gap.

“This collaboration with Climavision is an important step forward in addressing low-level radar coverage gaps that have been a concern to emergency managers and sheriffs across the state,” Tina Lindquist, Grant County Emergency Management Director, said in a news release.

This fact box explains how weather radar works.

Contributed image

In October, Climavision installed an X-band radar on a water tower in Wendell, Minnesota, a small town in western Grant County. A second x-band radar is expected to be installed in early 2024 in or near Kandiyohi County. Using images captured by this radar and provided by Climavision, trained public safety personnel will be able to see lower-level storms. They can share this information with the National Weather Service, trained weather observers, and county staff to make the best decisions about emergency response and resource deployment. All weather watches and warnings will continue to come from the National Weather Service.

“This will be an extremely valuable tool for our Sheriff’s Office and emergency manager,” Douglas County Sheriff Troy Wolberson said in a news release. “Together we will be able to display local radar that will show us what is currently not visible on even the best radars available online and on mobile apps. This could help us save lives.”

The pilot project provides the x-band radar free of charge to public safety officials for the year 2024. This will allow time to evaluate the effectiveness of the radar and potentially expand partnerships.

“We are proud to collaborate with emergency and public safety managers and contribute our expertise to enhance radar coverage,” Tara Judd, vice president of strategic partnerships and radar operations at Climavision, said in a press release. “This project exemplifies the power of public-private partnerships in enhancing emergency preparedness.”

Reported by Echo Press staff

Our newsroom occasionally publishes stories under the “Employees” heading. Often, the byline “staff” is used when rewriting summaries of basic news that originate from official sources, such as a city press release about a road closure, which requires little or no reporting. Sometimes, this byline is used when a news story involves multiple authors or when a story is formed by piecing together previously reported news from different sources. If external sources are used, this will be noted within the story.

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