Weather Radar in Riverton Gets Upgrade


RIVERTON — The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Riverton will be down for three days beginning Sunday, October 30, for technicians to install an important technological upgrade. The work on the WSR-88D radar has been scheduled to minimize any potential impacts to office operations and will be delayed if hazardous weather is forecast.

During the outage, some radar coverage is available from adjacent radar sites including Pocatello, ID, Billings, MT, Salt Lake City, UT, and Cheyenne.

A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality provides added functionality and increases IT security.

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This is the first of four major upgrades, known as service life extension projects, planned in the next five years to replace and refurbish major components of the 20-year-old WSR-88Ds and to keep the radars operational into the 2030s. The $150 million investment is being made by the three organizations that use these radars, the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration. The three other service life extension projects include refurbishing the transmitter, pedestal, and equipment shelters.

The tri-agency Radar Operations Center, which supports the radars, estimates it will take about ten months to upgrade the signal processor on all 159 operational WSR-88Ds.