New Underwood weather radar is back in business

New Underwood weather radar malfunction caused enough damage to keep it off line for several...
New Underwood weather radar malfunction caused enough damage to keep it off line for several days.(Juliana Alford)
Published: Nov. 30, 2022 at 6:08 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The National Weather service radar located in New Underwood went down Nov. 10-15. Any time a weather radar goes down it is inconvenient but as winter weather looms, that outage could be serious.

“That slip joint (a “slip joint” takes the signal from the rotating dish and takes information down to a stationary pedestal) seized and when it seized everything continued to rotate, grabbed eight cables total, snapped the cables. It broke a bunch of stuff, broke the bracket and that’s what brought the whole radar system down,” said Dave Hintz, meteorologist in charge, National Weather Service, Rapid City.

The radar runs every day and monitors thunderstorms, snow, and wind shift patterns, across Western South Dakota and Northeast Wyoming.

Routine maintenance is done on the radar, monthly, quarterly, and semiannually, taking anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours. But as recent events prove, that is no guarantee something doesn’t break. The radar is now repaired and operating again.