Upgrading to the NWS radar system is underway
WILMINGTON – The National Weather Service has announced a temporary radar outage as part of a major upgrade to the Wilmington, Ohio WSR-88D radar system. This major maintenance effort, which began on Sept. 11, will require the radar to be shut down for about two weeks, according to officials.
A critical step in this upgrade process includes refurbishing and replacing the radar base, a critical component responsible for antenna rotation and positioning to capture weather data from all directions. Due to the significant weight of these components, the radome had to be temporarily removed by crane. It will be replaced once the renovation work is completed.
The Wilmington, Ohio, radar, operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service, was originally designed to operate for 25 years. However, he has already exceeded this age. Officials said the current upgrade is necessary to ensure the radar can continue to operate effectively for another 20 years or more.
This base renovation represents the final major project for the NEXRAD (Next Generation Weather Radar) service life extension program. This eight-year program includes a series of important upgrades to maintain the viability of the country’s radar systems into the 2030s.
These efforts were supported by a total investment of $135 million from NOAA’s National Weather Service, the United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Previous projects have included installing a new signal processor, refurbishing the transmitter, and upgrading the equipment shelters.
The service life extension program is on track to be completed in 2023, ensuring that the radar systems remain state-of-the-art and capable of providing vital weather data.
During the radar downtime, weather data from nearby radar sites will be available. These locations include Fort Wayne/Northern Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana; Louisville, Kentucky; Jackson, Kentucky; Charleston, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio. In addition, FAA terminal Doppler weather radars near Cincinnati, Dayton and Columbus can be used to detect and monitor the weather.
To access any of the surrounding radar sites, those interested can visit the following web page: (https://radar.weather.gov)(https://radar.weather.gov). Users can select a single radar location by going to the “Select View” menu option and then clicking on “Local Radar”.
The Wilmington, OH WSR-88D radar is part of a network of 159 operational radars nationwide. The Radar Operations Center in Norman, Oklahoma, is responsible for providing life cycle management and support for all WSR-88D radars nationwide.
While the temporary radar outage may cause some inconvenience, this critical upgrade ensures that Wilmington’s radar system continues to provide accurate and reliable weather information, contributing to the safety and well-being of the local community and beyond, according to officials.