National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

The Doppler weather radar (WSR-88D) at the National Weather Service in La Crosse, WI is off-line for most of this week (thru November 3) as technicians install an important technological upgrade. The work on the WSR-88D has been scheduled to minimize any potential impacts to office operations.

During the outage, radar data from the NWS La Crosse WSR-88D is unavailable. Surrounding radars (Milwaukee/Green Bay/Duluth/Twin Cities/Des Moines/Davenport) can be utilized by NWS staff.

The radar technician crew will:

  • Deploy a new, state of the art digital signal processor capable of supporting algorithm upgrades for the foreseeable future
  • Incorporate the antenna positioning control functions in software
  • Interface the computer to system sensors such as backup generator fuel level, temperature sensors, etc.

This is one of several major upgrades, known as Service Life Extension Program (SLEP), planned over the next five years to replace and refurbish major components of the 20+ year old WSR-88D’s and to keep the radars operational into the 2030’s. The $150 million investment, which covers all NWS radars across the country, is being made by the three organizations that use these radars:  the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force, and Federal Aviation Administration.

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Radar Upgrade Slide