Weather Service Sees Substantial Radar Upgrades In Glasgow
The National Weather Service weather radar in Glasgow is currently undergoing the last of four major upgrades that are part of a multi-year project known as the Service Life Extension Program.
Over the past several years, contract teams have come through Glasgow to refurbish many of the electrical components inside of the dome of the radar (where all of the critical components reside) as well as the shelter buildings surrounding the radar.
This last project, known as the pedestal replacement, is the most time intensive of the four upgrades. It required a crane to come into Glasgow and remove the dome on top of the radar tower to get access to the pedestal. This pedestal is a large component of the radar that controls the rotation (both vertical and horizontal) of the radar dish and is critical to successful operations of the radar, especially in severe weather conditions. The entire pedestal replacement project takes on average 14 days to complete.
The dome is about 35 feet tall and weighs approximately 6,000 pounds. The pedestal is 15 feet tall and weighs approximately 22,000 pounds. The tower on which the dome and pedestal rest, is 65 feet tall.
“Wholesale replacement of weather radars is cost-prohibitive and as such it was determined that the best way to ensure that the current aggregate of 158 radars across the U.S. (including island sites in the Pacific and Atlantic) are fully functional for another 30 years is to take on these four individual projects to replace or refurbish some of the most critical components of the radar” said Brandon Bigelbach, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service in Glasgow.
To tackle the project, crane operators required a period of time in which wind speeds remained light to perform the dome lift portion of the pedestal replacement. There were several delays in start time. Crane operators were looking for wind speeds to be under 18 mph. On Monday, Oct. 2, forecasters at National Weather Service Glasgow began supplying a seven-day forecast of wind speed, direction and potential wind gusts to maintenance crews. The dome was lifted off in one complete piece Oct. 6 around noon and placed onto the ground.
“The forecast staff at NWS Glasgow did a fantastic job relaying wind speed forecasts for crane operations, which ultimately led to the successful completion of the dome removal and pedestal replacement.” said Scott Rozanski, warning coordination meteorologist for Glasgow. “This is especially incredible based on the fact that the winds recorded at the airport in Glasgow on Wednesday and Thursday, showed average wind speeds between 37 and 38 mph each day, with a peak wind gust to 54 mph on Wednesday, Oct. 4, and a peak wind gust to 50 mph on Thursday, Oct 5.”
The pedestal replacement project is expected to be completed by Oct. 16, after which the Glasgow radar will be put back into operation.
For more local information, visit weather.gov/ggw or call 406-228-4042.