Government shutdown slows repair of National Weather Service radar in Wakefield

Ordering parts to fix needs special approval

Government shutdown slows repair of National Weather Service radar in Wakefield

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The National Weather Service radar in Wakefield is broken, and the repair will take longer than usual because of the government shutdown.

The radar in Wakefield scans the skies from the Outer Banks in North Carolina to near Charlottesville, including NBC12′s central Virginia viewing area.

This is the radar reading you see when you use the NBC12 First Alert Weather app, and it is used for on-air forecasts, supplemented with our own radar.

It’s an important forecasting tool, especially when it comes to severe weather, and is the main tool the NWS uses to issue severe alerts like tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in central Virginia

When it’s down, the radars in Raleigh, NC, Washington, DC, and Floyd County, which is near Blacksburg fill in the gap.

It’s going to take a few extra days to get it up and running again.

Here’s the latest update from the NWS sent at 10:22 a.m. Tuesday. (Note: The message is in Universal time, which is five hours ahead of Eastern time).

See the latest status message from NWS Wakefield here.

During the government shutdown, the Meteorologists and staff at the National Weather Service are working without pay.

The National Weather Service is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is in the Department of Commerce. Without normal funding, the process of fixing things takes longer.

Jeff Orrock is the meteorologist-in-charge of the National Weather service office in Wakefield and said, “due to the shutdown, the process to order parts for repairs requires approval from higher level officials. This does slow down the procurement and repair process.”

In normal circumstances, the outage would have been fixed by Wednesday, but Orrock doesn’t expect the repair to happen and the radar to go online until Friday.

The good news is that even though we expect rain Wednesday night and Thursday, we don’t expect severe storms.

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