NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Starting Monday, the radar operated by the National Weather Service in Nashville will be down for two weeks for an important upgrade. The work is on the radar’s pedestal and is project three out of four in the NEXRAD Service Life Extension Program.
This program aims to keep the nationwide network of 159 NEXRAD radars operational through the 2030s.
“The radar was only intended to last about 25 years, and it’s far surpassed that. So now we are going into what’s called a service life Enhancement Program, updating different parts of the radar so it can last us another 25 years,” said Meteorologist In Charge Krissy Hurley.
While the radar is down, other radars in the NEXRAD network will pick up the slack. A team of radar experts will be working on the pedestal, which plays a key role in the radar’s ability to rotate. “Even though our radar will be down, the coverage will still be just as good with our surrounding radars,” explained Hurley.
Hurley told News 2 this upgrade offers a close look at the inner workings of the radar, “It’s kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing to a sneak peek and look at our equipment without having to climb 10, 12 flights of stairs”.
The upgrade will require the removal of the radome, which is expected to happen on Thursday.
“We’re very excited here at the National Weather Service. We’re going to have a drone. We’re going to have a GoPro. And hopefully, that’s imagery we’ll share on our social media pages. So that you too can see exactly the insides of the radar when it’s not spinning.”
Hurley also says that the upgrades are happening now for a reason, “People might say, well, you know, this is a terrible time of year to do some type of upgrade and have the radar down because, hello, summertime thunderstorms. But because we’re moving the dome off of the radar, they really need light winds. And what they found climatologically speaking is the lighter winds occur in the summertime. We can’t have any wind gusts greater than 18 miles per hour. Otherwise, they won’t be able to remove the dome off the radar. So that’s why the month of August was perfect.”