Monday, April 15

Raleigh National Weather Service Radar Down for Maintenance

ASHEBORO N.C. – Starting today, April 17th, 2023, the KRAX Weather Radar operated by NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) in Raleigh, NC, will be unavailable for approximately two weeks for a critical upgrade.

The radar is going offline for planned maintenance as technicians refurbish and replace the pedestal, a critical component necessary for antenna rotation and positioning.

“The components are extremely heavy and will require the radome to be removed by crane and replaced when the work is completed,” said the NWS office in a press release. “The radar and pedestal were designed to last 25 years, and these components have exceeded their projected life span.”

The KRAX WSR-88D is part of a network of 159 operational radars that make up the nationwide NEXRAD network. During the downtime, adjacent NWS Doppler weather radars in the network will be available, including Blacksburg, VA (KFTX); Wakefield, VA (KAKQ); Newport/Morehead City, NC (KMHX); Wilmington, NC (KLTX); Columbia, SC (KCAE); Greenville-Spartanburg, SC (KGSP) as well as the Federal Aviation Administration Terminal Doppler Weather Radar in Raleigh, NC (TRDU).

Forecasters at the NWS office in Raleigh say that these surrounding radars will provide full coverage of all of North Carolina and the outage of the KRAX radar will not impair their ability to provide accurate forecasts and timely weather alerts.

Most consumer weather apps that display weather use a composite image of the entire NEXRAD network meaning the outage may not even be noticed by most users. If your weather app is not displaying radar, look through the settings for the option to change radar locations to one of the sites listed above.

“Once the radar is taken offline, it will remain offline until the upgrades are completed,” said Nick Petro, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS office in Raleigh. “Meteorologists will utilize supplemental data to monitor potentially hazardous weather, including adjacent radars, surface observations, satellite data, and lightning detection networks.”

This maintenance is part of the WSR-88D Service Life Extension Program. NOAA’s National Weather Service, the United States Air Force, and the Federal Aviation Administration are investing $135 million in the eight-year with the goal of keeping the nation’s radars viable into the 2030s.

The first project was the installation of the new signal processor in 2017, the second was refurbishing the transmitter. The pedestal refurbishment starting today is the third project, and a fourth project is planned for later in 2023 to refurbish the equipment shelters.

Photo credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis KSC-08pd3221