Too Much Fun With No Radar

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

54 Responses to Too Much Fun With No Radar

  1. Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

    This video from the weather channel is very sobering when it comes to climate change.
    http://www.weather.com/weather/videos/news-41/top-stories-169/arctic-ice-melting-faster-than-thought-21939

  2. Ben Randall says:

    PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENT
    NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PORTLAND OREGON
    230 PM PDT TUE SEPTEMBER 20 2011

    … KTRX RADAR MAINTENANCE SCHEDULED FOR SEPTEMBER 27-OCTOBER 2…

    THE PORTLAND DOPPLER WEATHER RADAR /KRTX/ SERVING NORTHWEST OREGON
    AND SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON WILL BE UNDERGOING MAINTENANCE OF CRITICAL
    PARTS FROM SEPTEMBER 27 THROUGH OCTOBER 2. DURING THIS TIME
    PERIOD…KTRX RADAR DATA WILL BE UNAVAILABLE. IF SIGNIFICANT STORMS
    ARE EXPECTED DURING THIS TIME PERIOD…THE MAINTENANCE WILL BE
    DELAYED OR RESCHEDULED.

    UNFORTUNATELY…THIS MAINTENANCE WAS UNABLE TO BE DONE IN
    CONJUNCTION WITH THE RECENT OUTAGE FOR THE DUAL POLARIZATION UPGRADE
    ON THE KRTX RADAR.

  3. Steve Pierce says:

    AMS MEETING THIS SATURDAY – 9/24 – ALL KPTV BLOGGERS WELCOME!!!

    Hope to see everyone this coming Saturday afternoon (9/24) at Stark Street Pizza in Portland for the annual KPTV bloggers appreciation meeting of the AMS. Social hour will begin at 12 noon and the meeting at 1pm. I just received word that Stark Street Pizza is donating free pizza coupons to our raffle, as well as Bing Lounge passes from AMS VP Bobby Corser! Raffle tickets will be $1 at the door this Saturday! This meeting is open to the general public. Hope to see you all there.

    See meeting announcement enclosed / attached

    Steve Pierce
    President – Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society
    http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/

  4. pappoose in scappoose says:

    LOOK!

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~ovens/loops/wxloop.cgi?vis_common_full+today

    What a job Mark. You’re asked to observe all the action offshore and tell us it’s going elsewhere. And of course this information is based largely on the MODELS, which are known to be CONFUSED quite often. And if you fail (which is as rare as a snowball in…oh you know what I mean) EVERYONE knows it.

    I joke around a lot, but don’t think for a second that I don’t appreciate all the skilled people that put in their time to analyze the weather and post their thoughts here.

    It’s just that there’s SO MUCH humor to be found, I can’t resist (it’s the youngster in me).

  5. Joshua in Lake Oswego says:

    The 12z says that fall starts next Monday and may never look back!!!

  6. Punxsutawney (aka HIOPHIL) at work by Sunset High elev ~280' says:

    Daylight is fading fast. We lose two minutes a day on sunset alone for each of the next 10 days, except Saturday. This time next week sunset will be before 7pm.

    And with the daylight, rapidly running out of time for any more 90 degree temps here in the metro area. After next Monday, only 4 days have records in the 90’s in Hillsboro. Probably all days with very high Heights and just the right amount of offshore flow (east wind).

  7. thejory (Sandy) says:

    I spotted a forecast for Winter 2011…
    http://snowday.community.officelive.com/default.aspx

    If that would verify, we are in the high snow fall area.

    Of course… that’s a BIG if!

  8. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    Now everything else is shutting down. Its the end of days…

    Oh noes

    • Garron says:

      Timmy,

      I think it is just possible that we will be invaded by a herd of stray albino donkeys’ this weekend what with all the radars being down…Time for spotter reports. It looks like the NWS has taken out the thought of development out of their forecast for t-storms, the curse being lifted and radar being down = suoercell developing south of Kfalls, and heading due Northwest and right over the valleys …You heard it hear first…lol!

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Supercells not sure about that…. But t’storms in general, most likely. Models do hint a possibility at cascade convection and maybe even parts of the valleys too.

  9. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    If I ever had the money…. I just wonder what it would be like to have my own Doppler Radar in my back yard to replace NWS. 🙂 And of course I’d set aside a little bit for Mark too, he’d need an HD upgrade.

  10. Derek Hodges says:

    If I get rich when I am older I will buy a radar and let you use it Mark.

  11. A very Fall-like crisp in the air this morning. Currently 46.9 with low clouds/fog developing rapidly out this way….

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Exactly the same temp here. Clear skies.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      National Weather Service Portland or
      842 am PDT Tuesday Sep 20 2011

      Short term…issued a quick Nowcast for the pdx/vuo metropolitan area this morning to mention locally dense fog observed by some webcams and confirmed by a few of our employees on their way into work this
      morning. This fog should lift by 10 am this morning…leaving sunny skies for the remainder of the day.

  12. Mark Nelsen says:

    East wind started up the past hour at Vista House. Remember that West=East until I get down there to fix the sensor wind direction.

    • Garron says:

      west = east, no radar returns = rain, no dog collars on weatherman and their recently departed friends = job! Crazy week, good times ahead though!!!! Looking forward to 80 degrees all week = way more squash, tomatoes, and peppers than I can eat. And my pumpkins are defying the laws of physics!!! I’ve got a 20+ pound pumpkin growing on the side of the fence!!!!!

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      20+ pound pumpkin growing on the side of the fence = fence damage.

    • Garron says:

      Minor damage to plastic slats, but worth the amazingly nice, almost ready to pick pumpkin.

    • pappoose in scappoose says:

      Should leave it there. Carve it and watch for frost on the pumpkin!

  13. Karl Bonner says:

    A bit of a side note. Where do Mark and the other TV weather anchors get their official data for daily averages and records? I’ve noticed that the average high temps have been a degree or two warmer than the averages on Weather.com, which is the convenient source I’ve been using.

    For as strong a weather geek as I’ve become, I really need to get a list of sites with better weather records. I’d appreciate feedback on where to find some of them.

  14. bgb41 says:

    9/19/2011 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    Warmest:
    High:93 at ILLINOIS VALLEY(1389 ft)
    Low: 64 at Rufus 2E(279 ft)

    Coldest:
    High:51 at Timberline Lodge(7001 ft)
    Low: 29 at Beatty (4320 ft ) & Mazama (4590 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 49 degrees
    ILLINOIS VALLEY (93/44 ) (1389 ft )
    Beatty (78/29) (4320 ft)

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    0.71″ at LOG CREEK(2800ft)

  15. Anthony Bertolo - Hillsboro says:

    Mark, next time they ask, just say yes.

  16. Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

    Better get things runnin’ before the donkeys go ‘heh-haw … heh-haw’

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Yeah, its times like these that we really need the Eternal Dragon to tell us that the storms can hold off until the radar is completed….

      Actually I have found 4 of the 7 Dragon Balls, BUT, one problem, my Dragon Radar just went FLITZ. Its gone. I need some help to find the last 3!!!

    • Kyle says:

      Right like the NWS never fails at the SPC as in the several summers where the T and L storms never materialized despite excellent conditions for them. 😦

  17. Boydo3 N. Albany 500' says:

    That’s why I missed seeing some light rain coming in! I was flabbergasted! Woke up to a fairly steady spritz hitting the north side of the house. SCOTTY! GET THAT RADAR RUNNING, DAMMIT! MY HAIR IS BEGINNING TO FRIZZ OUT!

  18. oldwxwatcher says:

    What gets me is when local stations rename the government radars on their weather segments to create the impression that the radar is their own. I know that many stations utilize “branding” on their newscasts, even though it is misleading, but that is going a bit too far.

    • Mike near Clackamas Town Center says:

      The weather channel does the exact same thing with the radar & it confuses certain politicians thinking that maybe we don’t need the NWS 😆 Cliff Mass had a pretty good post on this subject a while back 🙂

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      We still need NWS even IF everyone DID have their own radars…. NWS does afterall make the forecasts that many feed off of. Not all but many…

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      And lets not forget the NWS is tied in with SPC. We can’t go without them either. Their convective outlooks never fail

    • Kyle says:

      Right like so many summers where storms failed to materialized. Never fail. 😉

    • Timmy_Supercell (Klamath Falls @ 4200') says:

      Here that would be true, but east of the Rockies, SPC nails their outlooks about 95% of the time. Practically.

  19. MamaReen says:

    We’ll pool our pennies and buy you a radar Mark, I promise.

  20. o.c.paul says:

    Yeah, I can just see the spots the KGW Promotion Dept. had planned to run. “NWS radar is down for an upgrade, but our system has you covered. (OOPS, It’s down, AGAIN!!).
    We’ll save those spots for the next upgrade in 2020.”

    • o.c.paul says:

      Hey, anybody see Sophie and her husband on HGTV last night?
      They were on ‘House Hunters’ looking for their fisrt home. That was fun!

  21. Mark, relax, you sounded a little up tight 🙂

  22. Kyle says:

    Thanks Mark for the new post! So KPTV doesn’t have their own radar then. I didn’t know that. I’ve wondered how these TV stations do there radar. I assumed the rado came from the NWS as some part of agreement.

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