With few storms in the forecast, the National Weather Service (NWS) has picked a good week to begin maintenance on the weather radar located in Duluth.
The maintenance will keep the radar out of operation for 10-12 days before being fully updated with a longer lifespan beginning sometime around Aug. 31.
Here's what they're working on:
"Technicians will refurbish and replace the radar pedestal, which is one of the most critical components of the radar necessary for antenna rotation and elevation positioning to capture accurate weather data in all directions from the radar site. The components are extremely heavy and will require removal of the protective radome by crane, replacement of the radar pedestal assembly, and finally, reinstalling the dome when the work is completed."
Similar maintenance will happen at the NWS Twin Cities in September.
Blind spots on radar if severe weather erupts?
No, there won't be any blind spots even if the weather radar most people are used to using appears down on the NWS website and popular apps like RadarScope, AccuWeather and Weather.com.
To continue monitoring potential weather systems and storms, the weather service in Duluth will utilize data from surrounding radars in Grand Forks, North Dakota, the Twin Cities, La Crosse and Green Bay in Wisconsin, and Marquette, Michigan.
They'll also be able to use data from Canadian radars.
"National Weather Service Duluth forecasters have a wide range of other observational systems to use while the radar is down, and are specifically trained to continue seamless forecast and warning services during periods of radar outages," said Joe Moore of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), in an email to Bring Me The News.
They can also receive updates every minute from the new GOES-R weather satellites.
The NWS Twin Cities will be able to utilize data from the updated radar in Duluth, in addition to nearby NWS locations in La Crosse, Green Bay, Sioux Falls, Grand Forks and even Des Moines, Iowa.
Additionally, the NWS Twin Cities says it "can utilize various composite products like MRMS (Multi-Radar, Multi-Sensor), weather satellite, and the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar at MSP."
"This gives us enough coverage to be able to cover warnings, and should allow us to get through the radar repairs," the NWS Twin Cities noted.