Rapid City National Weather Service gets upgraded doppler

RAPID CITY S.D. (KOTA TV) - Radar; it helps meteorologists predict the weather, and it lets us know when we're in for rain, sleet or snow.

Rapid City is one of the first locations to get this hardware upgrade. The radar will change from analog to digital readings, which is supposed to provide more clarity.

The doppler undergoes phase three of the upgrades Thursday, with the refurbishment of the pedestal and dome. Workers attach bands around the dome to secure it, before the massive crane removes.

The radar will be shut down for three weeks during the upgrades, after which a new pedestal will be lifted up into the air and replace the old one. It's an upgrade that weather buffs say everyone can appreciate.

"Christmas came early for us in the Weather Service. This is important for Western South Dakota, Northeast Wyoming. This is a big deal with us and the weather," says Dave Hintz the head meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The Weather Service chose to replace the doppler now, since the weather is usually mild this time of year. This new system should be good into the 2030's.