Radar offline for upgrades | SteamboatToday.com

Radar offline for upgrades

Forecaster Norvan Larson makes sure a forecast is progressing as planned at the National Weather Service forecasting office in Grand Junction.
Scott Franz

— The radar at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction will be offline through at least Friday while upgrades are made.

According to Chris Kornkven, electronic system analyst, when the upgrades are complete, users will likely not see an enhanced view of precipitation headed toward Routt County, but the upgrades will make the radar system more reliable.

“In a lot of respects, it won’t provide any increased performance at the operator level,” Kornkven said.

The radar sits on the Grand Mesa outside Grand Junction and points 1/2 degree toward the sky. This sometimes makes it difficult for the radar to see storms in Routt County and other mountainous areas in Northwest Colorado.

“It depends what kind of storm system is coming in and what elevation,” Kornkven said.

The radar was last upgraded about 2002. During this phase of upgrades, $150 million is being spent to keep 159 radar systems operational through the 2030s. The radars are about 20 years old, and the upgrades are being paid for by the National Weather Service, the U.S. Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration.

The project in Grand Junction started Tuesday, and Kornkven said the work is going well.

New computer systems are being installed to replace obsolete technology, which will improve processing speed and data quality, provide added functionality and increase security.

The new system will also be less susceptible to lightning strikes.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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