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Brownsville NWS Goes Off Radar for Needed Repairs

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BROWNSVILLE – It looks simple on the outside, but the giant white globe at the National Weather Service in Brownsville is powerful.

"The radar is most important when the weather is most hazardous for people when it comes to tornadoes, and wind, and hail, and hurricanes, and flooding rains," said NWS Meteorologist Barry Goldsmith.

After 22 years of watching over the Rio Grande Valley and helping pinpoint possible dangerous weather, Goldsmith said the radar is getting much-needed upgrades.

"Parts are parts and they need to be replaced," he said. "In certain areas, there's cabling and other parts that are getting an overhaul and replacement, so we can have this radar for another 20 years."

It was important to wait for the right weather, Goldsmith said, in order to not jeopardize the agency's ability to track dangerous weather headed for the Valley.

He said weather patterns have held steady since October, so now was the time to temporarily go off the radar.

The agency has plenty of other tools to help predict the weather here, he added, and another radar just a few hundred miles away.

"If there were to be some weather coming in that was minor – a few showers, maybe a thunderstorm, we have our Corpus Christi radar that can actually see the entire Valley," Goldsmith said. “It may not see the little things as well, but it sees the big picture well, and we can use that."

Goldsmith said radar technology is advancing, but it's unclear how soon they'll have it in the Valley.

"We have what we have, and we know it works well," he said.

He added these repairs are crucial for the next decade or longer of severe weather events across the Valley.

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