Lake Charles radar repairs underway following Hurricane Laura damage
Louisiana radar one of only five ever completely destroyed
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KALB) - Back in August the radar at the National Weather Service office in Lake Charles was obliterated by Hurricane Laura’s winds. Now, work to repair it is underway. The WSR 88-D radome - what you might think looks like a giant golf ball - was torn to shreds by wind gusts of at least 130 miles per hour during the storm. The National Weather Service office staff was evacuated at the time.
Technicians from the NEXRAD Radar Operations Center in Norman, Oklahoma first removed the damaged parts after the hurricane using a crane. Then, last week they started rebuilding the radome, finishing late Sunday night. They also installed a new generator so the radar can keep working during power outages. Early next year the crew will have to remove the new radome to install the electronic components, with plans to have it back up and running by early March. The restoration will bring back crucial radar data to parishes in south central Louisiana.
“There are places where it’s very challenging to monitor storms, especially tornado type development. In south Louisiana a lot of our tornadoes are very shallow. With that being said, it has been a tough go at it. Luckily there hasn’t been a lot of severe weather that far south this year. Most of our severe weather that we have had has been up in central Louisiana,” says Jonathan Brazzell, a service hydrologist.
Out of the 159 radars around the world that have been operating for more than 25 years, only four others besides the Lake Charles radar have sustained major damage. Mostly recently, the San Juan, Puerto Rico radar was destroyed by Hurricane Maria.
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