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Additional Radar Upgrade Information


Chris Darden, Meteorologist In Charge,205.664.3010 x 222

John De Block, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, 205.664.3010 x 223

November 20, 2023

Beginning November 27th, the KBMX WSR-88D radar located in Calera, AL, operated by the
NOAA National Weather Service in Birmingham, AL will be down for approximately two
weeks for an important upgrade. Technicians will refurbish and replace the pedestal, one of the
most critical components of the radar, which is necessary for antenna rotation and positioning to
capture data in all directions. The components are extremely heavy and will require the radome
to be removed by crane and replaced when the work is completed.

The radar and pedestal were designed to last 25 years, and this radar has exceeded its life-span.
This activity is necessary to keep the radar functioning for another 20 years or more.

The pedestal refurbishment is the third major project of the NEXRAD Service Life Extension
Program, a series of upgrades that will keep our nation’s radars viable into the 2030s. NOAA’s
National Weather Service, the United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration
are investing $135 million in the eight-year program. The first project was the installation of the
new signal processor and the second project was the refurbishment of the transmitter. The fourth
project will be the refurbishment of the equipment shelters. The Service Life Extension Program
will be complete in 2023.

During the downtime, adjacent radars include: KMXX (Maxwell AFB, AL), KGWX (Columbus
AFB, MS), KHTX (Huntsville-Hytop, AL), KMOB (Mobile, AL), KDGX (Jackson, MS), and
KFFC (Peachtree City, GA). For direct access to any of these surrounding radar sites, go to the
following web page: A single radar site can be viewed by going to the
“Select View” menu option then clicking on “Local Radar” to select a single radar site.

The KBMX WSR-88D is part of a network of 159 operational radars. The Radar Operations
Center in Norman, Oklahoma, provides lifecycle management and support for all WSR-88Ds.