Beginning Tuesday, Dec. 3, the weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Aberdeen will be down for approximately five days for technicians to refurbish the transmitter.
The radar transmitter is used to send and receive the radar signal. This project will replace with new components the circuits, cables, and fuses that have been in operation since the mid-1990s. This will help keep the 20+ year-old radar operating smoothly for another 20 years.
The radar is expected to be back in service by Saturday, Dec. 7.
During the outage, radar coverage is available from adjacent radar sites, including Rapid City; Sioux Falls; North Platte, NE; Bismarck, ND; and Grand Forks, ND.
“Our office will still perform our standard level of operations and continue to issue necessary hazardous weather warnings and advisories,” said James Scarlett, meteorologist in charge Aberdeen. “Meteorologists will be able to utilize neighboring radars; multi-radar multi-sensor (MRMS) derived products, GOES high-resolution satellite data, as well as weather spotter reports.”
This is the third of four major upgrades for the Aberdeen radar, known as Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), to replace and refurbish major components of the 20-year-old WSR-88Ds and to keep the radars operational into the 2030s. The $150 million investment is being made by the three organizations that use these radars — the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration.
The three other Service Life Extension Projects include a new signal processor, pedestal, and equipment shelters. The new signal processor was installed on the Aberdeen radar in the fall of 2016 and the equipment shelter was refurbished this past summer. The Service Life Extension Program will be completed on all radars nationwide in 2022.