North Dakota Weather Radars

It’s storm season again!  Time to redo the survey of WSR-88DCONUSCoverage1000Weather radars located within or covering part of North Dakota.

National Weather Service sites
Aberdeen SD
Rapid City SD
Glasgow MT
Minneapolis MN

NEXRAD sites are fairly well the gold standard.  Recently all of the sites were upgraded to Dual Polarimetry, which is a significant technological leap.

As you can see in the map, there are obvious gaps in our neighbourhood, so it’s fortunate there are additional weather radars around!

Environment Canada
Woodlands MB (Winnipeg)
Foxwarren MB (Brandon)
Bethune SK (Regina)

Environment Canada Weather Radar is largely comparable to older NWS Doppler Radars.  There’s a modernization campaign to add Dual Polarization, which hasn’t swept west.

North Dakota Atmospheric Resources Board
Bowman (year round)
Stanley (summer only)

My underinformed guess is that the ARB uses surplused 74C units.  Nominally it’s to support “weather modification” flights in western North Dakota, but it does have the side effect of providing low-level coverage in some notable NEXRAD holes.

University of North Dakota
Grand Forks Intermittent, often on during storms.

United States Air Force
Watford City

Legend says that during the long death of the Williston office of the National Weather Service, NWS Bismarck kludged together a way to get weather radar out of the air traffic radar in Watford City so they could finally shut off the Williston 74C.

The Watford City site is an ARSR-4 L-Band radar, a lower frequency than NEXRAD (S-Band) or EC (C-Band) weather radar.  You can easily see the returns from passing aircraft in the readout, and the angular resolution is grainy at best, but considering that it was tacked on as an afterthought the product is truly remarkable.