Senator John Hoeven has sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to ask for them to study the gaps in NEXRAD radar coverage in North Dakota.
His request is specifically for Watford City and western North Dakota. Because of the gaps, NOAA did not issue a tornado warning for Watford City on July 10 when an EF2 tornado touched down, killing an infant child, seriously injuring nine other residents and destroying or damaging hundreds of RVs and vehicles.
NOAA currently monitors the area for weather using NEXRAD in Bismarck and Minot. Hoeven says these stations are located too far from Watford City to detect severe weather in the area below 10,000 feet. Because of this gap in coverage, residents and community officials were not sufficiently alerted prior to the deadly tornado touching down on July 10.
Last year, Congress passed legislation requiring NOAA to study gaps in NEXRAD coverage. Watford City and western North Dakota should be included in this study so the gaps can be addressed, help protect area residents from severe weather and prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future.
Last year, the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act was signed into law. The bill requires NOAA to study gaps in NEXRAD coverage and provide recommendations in addressing gaps. In his letter, Hoeven requested NOAA to include Watford City and western North Dakota in its studygf