Weather Radar in Amarillo Gets Upgrade

Staff Writer

The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Amarillo will be down for approximately four days beginning Monday, Feb. 27 for technicians to install an important technological upgrade. The work on the WSR-88D has been scheduled to minimize any potential impacts to office operations and will be delayed if hazardous weather is forecast.

During the outage, radar coverage is available from adjacent radar sites including: Cannon Air Force Base, Frederick, Dodge City, Pueblo and Lubbock.

A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality, provides added functionality, and supports IT security.

This is the first of four major upgrades, known as service life extension projects, planned in the next five years to replace and refurbish major components of the 20 year old WSR-88Ds and to keep the radars operational into the 2030s. The $150M 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 other service life extension projects include refurbishing the transmitter, pedestal, and equipment shelters.

The tri-agency Radar Operations Center, which supports the radars, estimates it will take about 10 months to upgrade the signal processor on all 159 operational WSR-88Ds.

These radar upgrades will continue to support the mission of the National Weather Service which is to provide weather, water, and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property and enhancement of the national economy, as well as NOAA's broader mission to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources.

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