The radar at the National Weather Service in Riverton will be down for a few days to install a technology upgrade.

The radar was installed in the mid '90's and certainly technology has improved significantly over the last twenty years," says Meteorologist Chris Jones with the Weather Service. "This is an opportunity for us to put new hardware in place to improve the processing of the signal as it's received from the radar, so it would be essentially like buying a brand-new PC with a new processor so that you could operate more swiftly at home. "We're doing the same thing here at the Weather Service."

Jones says the hardware upgrade won't necessarily provide better detection, but that's not the purpose. "We're just trying to improve the efficiency and the speed of the processing system. This is the first of four upgrades designed over the next few years to extend the life of the radar for hopefully another twenty years."

The outage  will begin Sunday, October 30th, and Jones says the radar will be down for three or four days, maybe less depending on the weather. " It just depends on how things go and how the weather cooperates. Right now things look pretty good and that's one of the other advantages of doing it at this time of year, we're not as concerned about severe thunderstorms or strong thunderstorms where we really need that radar to do our job effectively."
If bad weather does hit during that time, Jones says operations will be normal, just without that radar. "We will use visible and infra-red satellites to assist us, to help us to determine where the storms are most active, and then we would employ our spotters that we train each year to help us with on-the-ground reports" he says,"and also the automated instrumentation across the state to assist us with perhaps wind gusts or visibility or other things that would help us to determine how strong a storm was."   The other three of the four life extension projects include refurbishing the transmitter, pedestal, and equipment shelters.