National Weather Service St. Louis radar update delayed due to potential severe weather

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:36 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 29, 2023 at 2:43 PM CDT
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UPDATE: March 29, 2023 at 2:40 p.m.

The National Weather Service has announced the upgrade would be delayed until April 6.

“Due to the increasing threat of severe weather Friday and into early next week, we have worked with our radar contractor to DELAY the NWS St. Louis radar upgrade until April 6th. This means our radar will be operational for the severe threat on Friday and any additional severe thunderstorm threats we may see early next week,” read an email sent Wednesday afternoon to NWS partners.

The upgrades are now scheduled for April 6 to April 12.


ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - The radar for the National Weather Service St. Louis will go down this Thursday for a scheduled vital upgrade to the system. But the planned upgrade comes as St. Louis prepares for the threat of severe weather this week.

“We understand there is a threat of severe weather across the area on Friday. However, with over 122 radars across the country needing this upgrade, our ability to flex the dates on such short notice is extremely limited. Therefore, as of now, we still plan to begin the radar upgrade as scheduled THIS Thursday, March 30th,” read an email to NWS partners.

Kevin Deitsch is the Warning Coordination Meteorologist at NWS St. Louis and said they are prepared for the radar outage to last until April 6. They will rely on radars from the surrounding state and other parts of Missouri.

“The radars, luckily they overlap enough where we can still see all the storms in all the areas to give us the coverage we need to issue life-saving warings,” he said.

The NWS issues warnings which are then taken by partners like the local Emergency Management Agencies, who then sound the tornado sirens.

Jani Albright, the assistant director for St. Charles EMA, said they are prepared.

“We’re ready to do our part to notify people that they need to seek shelter,” she said. That includes using alternate radars as well.

Deitsch also says their trained storm spotters in the area will also be helpful to see what’s happening on the ground.

Friday is a First Alert Weather Day, with severe storms possible in the afternoon and evening.

News4 reached out to the National Weather Service in Washington, D.C. to see if there was a chance of postponing the upgrade.

“We are watching the evolving forecast and will make a final decision about the radar upgrade schedule tomorrow,” said Susan Buchanan, Director of Public Affairs for the National Weather Service.