Syracuse, Indiana (WANE) – The National Weather Service Northern Indiana office has announced that there will be a radar outage for approximately two weeks in September. The suspension is scheduled to begin on Monday, September 12th.
The suspension is due to a significant upgrade of the radar pedestal. This upgrade is part of the Weather Service’s Service Life Extension Program (SLEP). This program is designed to extend the life of your radar. The first part of the project was replacing the radar’s signal processor. The second part has a new radar transmitter. The current phase of the program is radar pedestal replacement and refurbishment. After this part is completed, the final stage of renovation of the equipment shelters around the radar will eventually be completed. The entire $135 million program is due for completion in his 2023, after servicing 159 operational weather service radars.
The pedestal is responsible for rotating and positioning the antenna to capture data in all directions. More than 25 years have passed since the pedestal was replaced, and the recommended life has been exceeded. The purpose of replacing the pedestal is to keep the radar working for another 20 years or more.
To complete this phase of the project, the radar radome and pedestal must be removed from the radar and reinstalled once work on the pedestal is complete. This requires the use of cranes and certain weather conditions. These components are very heavy and winds over 18 mph will stop the removal or reinstallation process. The pedestal itself is about 16 feet tall and weighs about 15,000 pounds. Weather permitting, the radome and pedestal will be removed for renovation on Friday, September 16th.
Radar data that relies on the NWS Northern Indiana Radar cannot be accessed while the radar is down. Other nearby radars available during downtime are Indianapolis, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Wilmington, and Detroit. Visit this link to access these surrounding radar sites. If you’re using the WANE weather app, don’t worry. While the Northern Indiana radar is down, you can still use national radars that rely on a blend of nearby radars.
Michael Lewis, a warning adjustment meteorologist at the National Weather Service Northern Indiana Office, said the downed radar would not have a significant impact on the ability to monitor emerging weather conditions and issue weather warnings. They have to keep their radars up and rely on data from other radars his site while their radars are down. The office’s purpose is to save lives regardless of the data’s origin. They base their alerts on the best radar data, the latest spotter information available, partner information obtained from local media stations, and emergency managers.
For more information on radar outages and SLEP programs, visit this link on the National Weather Service Northern Indiana website.