The Weather Service in Birmingham announced yesterday afternoon that the KBMX radar out of Birmingham, AL will be receiving the first of its four upgrades it will receive over the next five years. These are called “service life extensions”. These upgrades will be replacing the current 20 year old hardware used in the radar sites. The radar site will be down for four days beginning Monday, December 12th.
The full statement from the NWS is below:
Public Information Statement National Weather Service Birmingham AL 222 PM CST Wed Dec 7 2016 ...WEATHER RADAR IN BIRMINGHAM (KBMX) GETS UPGRADE... The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Birmingham, Alabama (KBMX) will be down for approximately four days beginning December 12, 2016, for technicians to install an important technological upgrade. The work on the WSR-88D has been scheduled to minimize any potential impacts to office operations and will be delayed if hazardous weather is forecast. During the outage, radar coverage is available from adjacent radar sites including KMXX, KGWX, KHTX, and KFFC. A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality, provides added functionality, and supports IT security. This is the first of four major upgrades, known as service life extension projects, planned in the next five years to replace and refurbish major components of the 20 year old WSR-88Ds and to keep the radars operational into the 2030s. The $150 million investment is being made by the three organizations that use these radars, the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration. The other service life extension projects include refurbishing the transmitter, pedestal, and equipment shelters. The tri-agency Radar Operations Center, which supports the radars, estimates it will take about 10 months to upgrade the signal processor on all 159 operational WSR-88Ds. For additional information regarding the upgrade to KBMX, please contact Kevin Laws, Science and Operations Officer at National Weather Service Birmingham at 205-664-3010, Extension 224. A tentative deployment schedule is available: www.roc.noaa.gov/WSR88D/PublicDocs/SLEP/ECP0437SigProcSLEPDeploySched.pdf