Marion County residents concerned after National Weather Service’s radar goes down again

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - With severe weather in the forecast for this weekend, the National Weather Service in Jacksonville said their radar will be down for maintenance. 

“We have a radar cooling fan that’s currently down and we have parts out right now,” said NWS meteorologist Scott Cordero.

When they put this information on social media, Marion County residents asked questions like why is the radar always down when there are storms?

As others like Vicki Bennett are still picking up the pieces when a tornado came through the area in March.

“Everyone of course after going through that does get concerned when the weather is going to be bad, but I am very worried that the radar is down again and we won’t know when that happens again,” said Bennett.

For this weekend Cordero said a tornado will be unlikely.

“The environment is totally different than what we experienced. We’re going to have some pretty tall thunderstorms probably some heavy rain, maybe even some localized flooding, and some tall thunderstorms that may produce no tornadoes but maybe some damaging straight-line winds.”

With the radar down the alternate radars are in Tampa and Valdosta, Georgia, and Cordero said they also have other ways to locate severe weather.

“We also look at the increase in lighting data, we also look at model data and high-resolution satellite data. Where we can pick up those messy scale boundaries pretty easily now with the resolution of our satellite.”

According to Cordero the new cooling fan was expedited and should be fixed in a day or two.

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