GREAT FALLS — Meteorologists and community members rely on radar for current weather conditions.
Great Falls National Weather Service Warning Coordination Meteorologist Megan Syner said, “The radar is a critical tool for us to look at precipitation, especially severe weather. We use it to monitor rain, snow, hail, any type of precipitation.”
The radar located at the National Weather Service in Great Falls is known as a “doppler” radar which allows users to look at wind. Looking at wind is especially useful during severe weather events and when fronts are moving through.
Beginning on Monday September 16, radar in Great Falls will be down for scheduled maintenance.
The radar will be down for approximately five days.
Great Falls National Weather Service Electronics Technician Dave Hagins said this current radar is 25 years old.
Hagins said this current radar is 25 years old, and during this planned maintenance news cables and breakers will be installed in the radar.
Although Great Falls radar will be down for several days, there are many other tools meteorologists can use.
Megan said, “There are radars in Missoula, Glasgow, Billings and Pocatello and we’ll be able to utilize all of those radars in addition to the new GOES West Satellite to be able to assess what is happening and also our spotter network is extremely critical to tell us what is happening on the ground and also we rely on automated surface observations.”
This maintenance is needed and will ultimately extend the life of the radar.