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Hodgdon radar to be replaced

HODGDON, Maine — Technicians at the National Weather Service in Caribou are working to refurbish a transmitter in Hodgdon as part of a longtime plan to provide smooth service in the region.

Victor Nouhan, meteorologist at the NWS in Caribou, said Monday that the 2018 WSR-88D radar operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be down for about five days. The system is responsible for determining if there is precipitation in the area. The WSR-88D originally was designed for a 20-year service life, and most systems in the field are now approaching that point, according to the NWS.

Technicians will be working on the 20-year-old equipment, replacing old breakers and cables that are original to the radar with modern fuses and cables.

“That will help keep the radar operating smoothly for the next 20 years,” Nouhan said. “It is pretty basic. It is like taking your car into the shop and getting the nuts and bolts replaced.”

The form, fit and function of the device will remain the same, he said.

This is the second major project conducted by the Next Generation Weather Radar, or NEXRAD, Service Life Extension Program. These series of upgrades and replacements are scheduled to keep radar systems across the United States viable into 2030, according to NOAA. Three government agencies, including the NOAA National Weather Service, the U.S Air Force and the Federal Aviation Administration are investing $150 million into the program, which is expected to continue for seven years.

While the Hodgdon radar is down, coverage will be provided by adjacent radar sites in Gray; Chipman, New Brunswick; Val d’Irene, Quebec; and Villerov, Quebec.

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