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Weather radar equipment gets update

Published: Oct. 11, 2021 at 5:01 PM EDT
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TOWN OF MONTAGUE, New York (WWNY) - From lake effect snow storms to severe thunderstorms, the north country has its fair share of unique weather and you’re likely to want to keep up with those weather patterns. We visit Lewis County, where vital equipment is getting much needed maintenance.

It may look like the New Year’s Eve ball or even the famous sphere at EPCOT in Walt Disney World, but it serves a much different purpose.

The dome protects a radar system that sits atop a 125-foot tower in the town of Montague - a radar system that helps to detect short-term weather patterns and now it’s getting some upgrades.

“What we are doing today is taking the pedestal off, putting on a refurbished pedestal and then putting the dome back on which we are expecting to give us maybe another 20 years of life out of this singular radar that we have here,” said Judy Levan,

National Weather Service.

She says the pedestal is what the antenna sits on as it spins to look for weather patterns across the region

Using the crane, it may only take a few hours to take the pedestal and the dome down, replace the pedestal and put the dome back up, but it does take some effort because the two combined weigh about 26,000 pounds.

Moving day is only a small piece of the puzzle.

“Once they replace the pedestal and get the dome back on, they have to rewire the entire circuits, put the antenna back on,” said Levan.

The radar is used by the National Weather Service and it’s use is vital to know when severe weather is approaching.

“We are doing what we need to do to make sure we can issue those forecasts and issue those warnings to keep people safe because that is what our ultimate goal is,” said Levan.

While improvements are made, the radar has been offline so the NWS is pulling data from other nearby radars to forecast the north country’s weather.

Levan says they hope to have the Montague radar back up and running by the end of the week.

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