Dopper Radar Online, But Not Used

Macomb, IL – $42,000 recently replaced McDonough County's Doppler radar system atop Memorial Hall on the Western Illinois University Campus. The cost was split between the county, city and university. It's been operational for roughly a month and a half.

But since the new system was put in place, it hasn't been used. The old system was only used once last year. County Board Emergency Services Disaster Agency (ESDA) Committee chairman Tony Coniglio says it's only turned on when there's a "significant weather situation" approaching the region.

"While the Quad Cities [National Weather Service] is watching, we can also watch, and direct our storm spotters on where the situation might be. That's important. Of course, our main concern is the safety of people," says Coniglio.

He says McDonough County's Doppler radar system is the only one not affiliated with the National Weather Service within about nine counties. He says it's crucial to getting his spotters the most accurate information.

While the system is mainly used to cover weather events in McDonough County, Coniglio says he also sends spotters to Henderson, Hancock, Warren and Fulton Counties. The radar can "see" activity within a 150 mile range.

Coniglio says the McDonough County Emergency Services Agency is working on a website that will allow users to see the Doppler radar's information from their home computers.