There was a time when meteorologists would make weather forecasts without the use of radar.

Beginning on Monday, February 14th, the radar located at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids will be down for two weeks. They will be refurbishing and replacing the radar pedestal. The maintenance is part of a plan called the Service Life Extension Program. They will have to use a crane to do some of this work.

Here is the Facebook post from the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids announcing the radar's shutdown...

Reading some of the comments to the post, it looks like many are not happy with the interruption of the radar for a short period of time.

Brad Haney commented:

"There is no time of year that this would be 'ideal' but honestly middle of February in West Michigan... seriously not much worse of a time to pick."

Amanda Lobbezoo says:

"There are signals of a pretty hefty storm hitting during this time. Rain, snow, and ice. Should be a good time with no radar..."

Brad Haney also added another comment:

"Couldn’t have scheduled this in May when we don’t care about lake effect?"

Joshua Petrovich summed things up this day:

"Everybody complaining about no radar as if Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit radars, and the GOES weather satellites aren't enough to get us by. Almost makes you wonder how we made it in the early days without such inventions. Sheesh."

Douglas J. Tobbe questioned the amount of time needed for the maintenance work:

"2 weeks? What is this 1895?"

Matthew Searles offered up a suggestion for a radar substitute for the time the radar was out of service:

"Draw us a crayon picture with your best guess. That should be fine."

One should not worry about the service outage. While the WSR-88D Doppler Weather Radar is down, Grand Rapids will still have access to other Michigan radars located in Detroit, Gaylord along with the radars in Northern Indiana, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Green Bay. Those radars also reach out far enough to cover the Grand Rapids area.

National Weather Service Radar
Map: National Weather Service

You can access the other radars at

Last September, the Grand Rapids Radar was down after a 31,000 Amp cloud-to-ground lightning strike happened within 60 meters of the radar.

The radar was originally installed in 1995.

You can read more about the radar here.


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