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The NWS big ball drops next week

The radome of the National Weather Service is coming down Monday. (MYCB photo by Terry Murry)

PENDLETON, Oregon – The big ball behind the National Weather Service in Pendleton is coming down beginning Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is replacing the pedestal that holds up the radome. Electronics Technician Johnny Blagg says that means the radar won’t be operating at the Pendleton station will not be operating for about three weeks.

“This equipment has been in operation 24/7, 365 days a year for 25 years,” he said. “They finally said, ‘We need to take some preventive action and see what we can do to extend the life of these things.”

A great deal of work has gone into getting ready for the repairs.

“There will be a crew out here with a big crane to lift the golf ball off the tower,” Blagg said. “Then, everything that’s inside is going to be replaced with refurbished and rebuilt equipment.”

Weather service officials say that the pedestal holding the “golf ball” is one of the most critical components of the radar, controlling antenna rotation and positioning. Its components are extremely heavy, and that’s why the crane is being brought in to move the radome. While it’s offline, adjacent radars in Spokane, Medford, Portland, and Boise will pick up the slack.

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