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National Weather Service in SLC experiences radar trouble

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Sep 13, 2013
and last updated 2013-09-13 19:40:41-04

SALT LAKE CITY – Officials with the National Weather Service said the radar itself isn't broken, the ability to receive the information from several radar is the issue, and they said the severe weather in Colorado could be to blame.

“There’s a lot of problems in Colorado due to the flooding,” said Meteorologist Larry Dunn of the National Weather Service. “We’re not exactly sure the reason, but there is a Verizon outage and we’re not able to get that information right now.”

It was Thursday around 8 p.m. when meteorologists and officials with the NWS noticed they weren’t getting imagery from several radar in and around Utah.

Turns out the problem was the connection and not the radar at all. So, while Verizon works to repair the issue, the NWS is tapping into other resources

Dunn said Friday they’re using an FAA terminal Doppler radar, but it’s a distant second in terms of technology.

“It’s usually used just to look for wind over the Salt Lake airport, but today we’re putting it to some other uses—to look at heavy rain," he said. "It can’t see the same size of area, but it’s better than nothing.”

The NWS also has satellite data, lightning data and automated weather stations, but none of those equal the information they receive from the radar they currently can’t access.

FOX 13 News chief meteorologist Brett Benson admits his forecast took an additional 30 to 45 minutes to prepare

“It is taking longer to put it all together,” he said. “We will have all the information. It will just take a little longer to get it.”