Sometimes this job is tough, but other times the fun is just too much to handle. For example this weekend I saw this blurb on KGW’s website…
You see, the National Weather Service radar is down for maybe 10 days (should be up within a couple of days) due to the big upgrade. It was done this time of year to avoid 10 days of no radar in winter…good choice of course. But the funny part is the one time the National Weather Service radar isn’t running is the same time KGW’s radar is down too. No one had radar imagery over us this past weekend. I had noticed the same thing last week on the afternoon we had showers move through.
Ha! One would think that after spending, what, a million bucks? (well, that was maybe 13 years ago), but yearly/monthly maintenance costs, and the thing doesn’t work during the one time the NWS takes their radar down? I also think I remember an outage for many weeks or maybe a couple of months on that radar within the past two years. It’s just great irony.
I’ve had bosses ask if it’s really worth it in our climate considering the tremendous outlay of money. The answer would be a resounding “No”. With our total lack of severe weather here, I doubt the average viewer would care and/or notice the difference between a station-owned radar and what the other 3 stations in town use. The delay between having your own radar and the live feed from any of 5 Nexrad sites is at maximum two minutes and as little as 10-20 seconds. If we were tracking supercell thunderstorms (or even plain thunderstorms) regularly it would be different; that’s why it’s common for stations east of the Rockies to own their own radars, even though they are weaker than the NWS 88Ds. But here in the maritime Pacific Northwest that time won’t matter while tracking little green and yellow blobs.
And don’t get me wrong, if the boss walked up to me and said, “we’re buying you a new radar”, I’d jump up and down with excitement. More weather tools are always good.
Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen