National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

Beginning December 2nd, 2019, the KDMX WSR-88D operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service in Des Moines (Johnston), Iowa will be out of service 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 (video below is of radar upgrade at Omaha, NE).


 

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 will be available, including: Minneapolis, MN; LaCrosse, WI; Davenport, IA; Omaha, NE; and Sioux Falls, SD.  For direct access to any of these surrounding radar sites, visit the following web page: https://radar.weather.gov/

The KDMX 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.