Over the summer, the KX Storm Team reported on problems with the Minot radar. The aging parts and repeated outages over the years have made it difficult to relay life-threatening weather information to the public.
On July 7th of this year, the radar was once again down during dangerous storms that tore through central North Dakota, completely leveling a building in Anamoose. Not having proper radar coverage made it difficult for not only the KX Storm Team but the National Weather Service that night.
We all use this radar when we open our phones to check the weather. So it doesn’t just impact us operationally, it impacts everyone when it’s down.
The KX Storm Team took their concerns to our US senators and even met in person with our US representative. They all shared the same concerns as the Storm Team did but we now have proof that action will be taken to help insure the health of our aging radar system.
Senator John Hoeven tells us he has brought the issue of Minot’s radar to Trump Administation… because this radar is paid for and maintained by the federal government. He also told KX News that he’s secured funding, 16 million dollars to be exact, for its upgrades through a several-year program called the Service Like Extention Program.
Our current radar system was installed in the 90s and was meant to be replaced around 2020. This upgrade plan, which technically started a few years ago, is suppose to keep them working until at least 2030.
Here’s what Senator Hoeven had to say to us this week.
“We worked to secure funding for this weather radar upgrade, but we’ve also been after NOAA to actually install these improvements – both to enhance the service for western North Dakota, but also to make sure we don’t have any outages, but that we have this radar weather equipment operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”
KX News also learned that in 2021, the US Senate will provide 14 million dollars for research and development for a new kind of radar. This will eventually replace our current radar system. This is the phased array radar. This new system will be able to scan the entire sky in less than a minute and can pinpoint a storm to get real-time information. It is estimated to save the US taxpayers 4.8 billion dollars in its life cycle and it will be a huge breakthrough in weather forecasting. We are at least a decade out from the new radars being implemented.