WIUM Tristates Public Radio

$43,000 Radar System Still Offline

Macomb, IL – McDonough County's radar system is still offline. The county's ESDA team hasn't been able to get it working so far this spring.

McDonough County ESDA Coordinator Dan Kreps says the radar software does not sync up with the radar equipment.

"The software is for an E-600 radar unit," says Kreps. "We have an E-450 unit on the raydome on top of Memorial Hall."

The county, Macomb and Western Illinois University partnered to purchase the new equipment for $43,000 several months ago, and has been fighting software and equipment issues ever since. Kreps says there's an increased urgency to get the issues resolved now that the severe weather season is in full swing, and has been for some time. He says he's talking with the St. Louis-based software company frequently.

McDonough County's doppler radar is only turned on when severe weather pops up in the immediate area. It's used as a supplement to National Weather Service doppler systems in the Quad Cities, St. Louis and Lincoln.

Kreps says the local system is important because it gets a more accurate picture of what's happening on the local level.

"By the time (the NWS) shoots its beam out from its radar, it's already several thousand feet in the air, so they're not really seeing what's going on on the ground," says Kreps. "A lot of times that's where the rotation in the system is at, where your tornadoes are developed."

Kreps says he's increasing pressure on the company to send him the correct software, but so far there's no deadline for when that must be done.