New Underwood weather radar offline during upgrades

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

West River entered a radar blackout on Monday morning that will last at least a week.

The National Weather Service WSR-88D KUDX radar that operates in New Underwood was shut down at 8 a.m. for the refurbishment of the transmitter. Although the new transmitter will be the same size and shape, old breakers and cables will be replaced.

While the radar is off-line, the National Weather Service will still issue warnings should West River see severe weather this week. Those warnings will be pushed by NewsCenter1 as normal across all platforms. You can also find them at NC1.tv/wx.

"We will have surrounding offices’ radars, such as Billings, Bismark, North Platte, Riverton, and Cheyenne,” said Aliza Foscato, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Rapid City. “With combination of all those (radars), along with satellite and we have lighting data as well, we will still see the storms. With all that information, we should be ok with viewing those storms."

The new transmitter is the second major project of the NEXRAD Service Life Extension Program, which will keep the nation's radar viable into the 2030s. The National Weather Service, U.S. Air Force, and Federal Aviation Administration are investing $150 million into the joint program over seven years. The program is expected to be completed in 2022.

The New Underwood radar still has two remaining upgrades, including a new pedestal and equipment shelters. The National Weather Service expects similar blackouts during that time, but they are currently not scheduled. The radar’s signal processor was replaced in September of 2016, as part of the first upgrade.

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