Repair Weather Radar on Mount Ashland

San Diego Weather NOAA seeks funds to repair weather radar on Mount AshlandThe white sphere on top of Mount Ashland may be motionless on the outside, but a peek underneath the reveals there’s a lot of activity going on.

A 28-foot dish lurks beneath the fiberglass globe of a cover, sending out blink-and-you’ll-miss-it pulses of electromagnetic energy. When the pulses bounce off storm clouds and come back, they contain a plethora of data: how hard and heavy the rain or hail is coming down, air circulation, wind speed. Lightning strikes are tracked separately. This facility, the Next Generation Weather Radar, or NEXRAD, is the National Weather Service’s lifeline when the thunder rolls.

But NEXRAD, going on 20 years, is not immune to Father Time. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is hoping to extend this station’s life and the network’s 121 others scattered across the U.S. with a $16.7 million budget request from the federal government. If approved, the money will fund repairs and maintenance on the network that was originally installed in the mid-1990s. The Medford National Weather Service NEXRAD went live in April 1996.

KTV has a new format that has replaced the old CCTV programming. CCTV always had the area weather radar one could check out in times of stormy weather or just to find out if it was going to rain. The new KTV does not offer area weather information. Instead they play the same community service announcements over and over 24/7. Is there any plan to include the weather radar in future programming?

A: KTV is the new local access television system, financed by charges on cable bills in North Mankato and Mankato and now operated out of the state-of-the-art television facilities at Bethany Lutheran College. The association with Bethany is bringing new services and features, but one of the things that was dropped is the frequent weather forecasts and radar images. Mankato City Manager Pat Hentges said people should contact KTV if they'd like to see the meteorological material return.
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