NWS Lincoln Doppler radar down for upgrades

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Photo courtesy of National Weather Service (NWS).

LINCOLN, Ill. (WCIA) — Officials with the National Weather Service (NWS) said the Doppler radar at their Lincoln office will be offline for up to eight days.

The Doppler went offline on Thursday, according to the NWS. “During the outage, radar data will remain available from our neighboring radar sites (Chicago, Davenport, St. Louis, Evansville, and Indianapolis). We will be able to utilize the neighboring radar data when issuing forecasts and warnings for our service area.”

Officials said the WSR-88D radar was installed in 1995 and was originally designed to have a service life of 20 years. They are now past that 20-year mark, so they are making some upgrades.

The upgrades are meant to keep the radars online into the 2030s. There are four parts to the “Service Life Extension Program,” according to officials. There have been two phases of the program completed in 2017 and 2019. Those parts included upgrading the signal processor and the transmitter.

Now, the equipment shelter at the office is getting an upgrade. Officials said, “This contains the radar equipment that is located at the base of the radar tower, as well as backup generators.”

After the equipment shelter phase is complete, they will move on to the pedestal. Officials said this part of the radar controls the antenna. “The pedestal will be replaced with a factory refurbishment, which includes replacement of gears, motors, and position sensors. This is the most visible upgrade, which will involve removing the radar dome.” They continued to say this phase will be done later on.

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