NEWPORT, MOREHEAD CITY - After a few days of being offline the National Weather Service Doppler Radar is back on tonight.
The base of the radar was struck by lightning early Tuesday morning, causing multiple problems with electrical instruments. Meteorologist were still able to track storms by pulling data from the National Weather Services radar in Wilmington and Raleigh. These beams go out 120 to 200 miles, scanning the skies across Eastern North Carolina.
A bolt of lightning struck dangerously close to the base of the Doppler radar located at the National Weather Service weather forecasting office in Newport. The strike damaged several hundred pounds of equipment.
Even though the radar is fitted with a lightning rod, the strike doesn't appear to have hit it. Instead, the bolt likely hit near the base of the radar. National Weather Service staff say this caused a power surge after striking near the radar, which overwhelmed internal instruments.
Repairs will likely take a couple of days. For now the radar is not functional. The total weight of the instruments for the repair is about 700lbs. This is too heavy to fly into local airports, but will be arriving in Raleigh.
The radar is expected to be back up and running in the next few days.