Local Weather Radar Will Be Down For The Next Two Weeks (And What That Means)

January 23, 2023

UPDATE: The major radar maintenance and two week outage originally scheduled to begin Monday for the weather radar  has been postponed until Wednesday due to a severe weather threat Tuesday night.

The weather radar that serves the Mobile/Pensacola area is scheduled to be down for about two weeks.

Beginning on January 25, the radar operated by the National Weather Service in Mobile (KMOB) will be down for replacement of the radar pedestal.

What happens if there is hazardous weather during this significant radar downtime? Meteorologists at the NWS Mobile/Pensacola Office will use the adjacent radar sites (listed below) in addition to GOES-16 satellite imagery, and observational data to provide accurate and timely warnings, when or if necessary.

The radar pedestal is one of the most critical components of the radar, which is necessary for antenna rotation and position to capture data in all directions. The components are extremely heavy and will require the radome to be removed by crane and then replaced by crane when the work is completed. Once this project begins, the radar cannot be turned on until the work is complete. Work on the radar should be completed by February 4.

This weather radar is what is used by most local television stations, phone apps and websites to show rain in the Mobile/Pensacola area, including North Escambia.

During the downtime, adjacent radars will be available, including those from Eglin Air Force Base (KEVX), New Orleans, LA (KLIX), Ft Rucker, AL (KEOX), Maxwell AFB, Montgomery, AL (KMXX),

The radar and pedestal were designed to last 25 years, and this radar has exceeded its lifespan. 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 completed in 2023.

The KMOB WSR-88D is part of a network of 159 operational radars.

Photo courtesy Don Shepherd for NorthEscambia.com, click to enlarge.


One Response to “Local Weather Radar Will Be Down For The Next Two Weeks (And What That Means)”

  1. Just Me on January 25th, 2023 4:59 am