NWS: Hytop radar undergoing upgrade July 17, system outage for two weeks

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Beginning July 17, you may notice radar data for the Valley area missing from some weather apps and programs.

Photo of the NWS Radome located in Hytop (Jackson County), Alabama. (Photo: NWS Birmingham)

The reason: The Hytop specific radar system is undergoing system upgrades, which means the radar will be down for as much as two weeks. As a result, that data will not be fed into local radar applications and programs, like the popular RadarScope app that is used on mobile devices.

Our LiveAlert 19 app and Interactive Radar on whnt.com will still provide radar imagery for the Tennessee Valley. These two sources use the entire national Nexrad Radar network to provide radar data — specifically, data from Columbus Air Force base in Mississippi as well as National Weather Service radar data from offices in Nashville and Birmingham.

Additional information about the Hytop (KHTX) radar outage is available below from the National Weather Service in Huntsville.

Public Information Statement
National Weather Service Huntsville AL
110 PM CDT Wed Jul 12 2017

…KHTX 88D Radar Outage Beginning July 17th for Upgrade…

The NWS 88D Doppler weather radar located in Hytop, Alabama will
be down for up to two weeks beginning on the morning of Monday,
July 17th for technicians to install an important technological

During the outage, radar coverage is available from nearby radar
sites, including the DOD radar at Columbus AFB and NWS radars for
our forecast offices at Nashville, TN and Birmingham, AL.

A crew will install a new signal processor, which replaces
obsolete technology, improves processing speed and data quality,
provides added functionality, and supports IT security.

This is the first of four major upgrades, known as service life
extension projects, planned in the next five years to replace and
refurbish major components of the 20+ year old WSR-88Ds and to
keep the radars operational into the 2030s. The $150M investment
is being made by the three organizations that use these radars,
the NOAA National Weather Service, United States Air Force and
Federal Aviation Administration. The other service life extension
projects include refurbishing the transmitter, pedestal, and
equipment shelters.

The tri-agency Radar Operations Center, which supports the
radars, estimates that it will take about 10 months in 2016/2017
to upgrade the signal processor on all 159 operational WSR-88Ds.