Doppler radar down for repairs, enhancements to help alert Grand Strand, Pee Dee residents

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:16 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WMBF) - New radar upgrades are coming to the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

WHAT’S HAPPENING

The Service Life Extension Program also known as SLEP increases the life expectancy of the weather radars that we use today.

WMBF’s radar, located In Shallotte, North Carolina, has had a lot of wear and tear between hurricanes, winter weather and severe thunderstorm over the years and now it’s time for an upgrade.

“When you look enhancing the life of the program itself you know we got mechanical parts on the radar as the antenna spins around changes azimuth and elevation and what drives that is the pedestal. The pedestal are good for about 25 years before they wear out. They were gone just before that, so it was our turn to get the new pedestal installed,” said Steven Pfaff, the warning coordinator for the National Weather Service in Wilmington.

The pedestal is 18,000 pounds and to move something that heavy of lift from the top of a tower that sits up there pretty high, the process just takes a while.

Once the equipment is back in place, the new pedestal is put back and some is sealed on the pedestal they can go back to rebuilding the antenna and put it back in the pedestal.

It’s not just mechanical upgrades for radar, the National Weather Service is upgrading the radar’s processors and enhancements with polarization which will allow them to receive more detail from the radar.

These improvements will help the National Weather Service to receive radar faster and more accurately which will allow them to issue warnings sooner.

Local doppler radar is under repairs
Local doppler radar is under repairs(WMBF)

WHEN IS IT GOING TO BE FINISHED

Now the doppler radar is out of commission until the improvements are finished.

However, there are still other ways to monitor if storms are coming our way like downloading the WMBF First Alert Weather App that uses a network of radars.

“The improvement on radar started last week and now it’s a matter of time to get reconnected and we hope to have it serviced by the end of this week,” Pfaff said.

Download the WMBF First Alert Weather App
Download the WMBF First Alert Weather App(WMBF)