SLIDELL — The KLIX WSR-88D radar is moving! The KLIX radar is currently co-located with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Slidell, LA. At the end of 2022, the radar will be moving west to Hammond, LA. During the move, the radar will be down for approximately three months. Surrounding NWS radars in Mobile, Jackson, Fort Polk and Lake Charles, as well as a lower-powered FAA radar near the New Orleans airport will provide coverage during the move.
In addition to the move, the lowest elevation angle of the radar will be changing. Currently, the lowest elevation angle the radar uses is 0.5 degrees, but after the move, the lowest elevation angle will drop to 0.3 degrees. This change will allow the radar to sample even lower in the atmosphere than it did previously. Sampling lower in the atmosphere allows for better identification of hazardous weather, including tornado formation and microbursts.
One big benefit of the move and lower elevation angle sampling will be a dramatically improved view of developing tornadoes and low-level winds in the Louisiana Capital Region that has not been possible since the NEXRAD network was put in place in the mid-90s. The combined effects of moving the radar closer to Baton Rouge and adding a 0.3-degree elevation angle will result in the ability to sample storms at around 300-600 feet elevation over portions of the Baton Rouge metro area. Currently, our lowest sampling across Baton Rouge is nearly 10 times as high – around 4000-6000 feet. The lowest elevation the radar can sample will depend on exactly where in the metro area an individual is. Radar coverage over portions of New Orleans will be similar or slightly lower than current heights while coverage over the Mississippi coast will remain the same, due to the proximity of the Mobile radar.