Radar data collection moving forward

The Valley has a Doppler Radar of its own at the San Luis Valley Regional Airport.

ALAMOSA — The Rio Grande Water Conservation District is currently maintaining the new Doppler Radar at the San Luis Valley Regional Airport.

Michael Carson of the RGWCD is overseeing the daily operations of the unit.

Carson said that in the past, weather conditions and updates for the San Luis Valley were created from data gathered from the surrounding areas, which was modeled to give current and predicted weather data. The new radar, which was installed by EWR Weather Radar Systems, is among the best technology that is currently available. The unit is a state-of-the- art system that can detect a vast set of weather trends and other phenomena, even down to details such as a swarm of mosquitos.

Carson further noted, “Today more than just RGWCD benefitting, we are seeing the entire San Luis Valley benefitting from real-time weather updates created with actual data instead of modeled data.”

Carson also acknowledged that learning the system has presented a few challenges.

“There have been a few snags in getting to know equipment vs. environment, he said. “However, at this time, we do seem to have most of the operational bugs worked out.

“We are now working on a couple of solutions for redundancy that they have not had to do in the past when installing these Doppler radars, which goes back to the challenge of equipment vs. environment.”

As for the future of the radar, Carson said, “The benefit to the RGWCD and the entire water community will be better gauged next year as we see how well we can predict stream flow through better knowledge of snowpack and yield with data gathered from the Doppler radar.

Currently, the data from the new unit is online at www.slvweather.com, with an embedded link at the top of the page to an interactive NOAA map that is being fed SLV radar data in real-time.

Carson said the website is very rough at the moment and is still in the process of being built. There are videos of the current day’s and previous day’s weather that can be viewed on the website or downloaded.

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