Bristol Head 

A temporary Doppler radar system was deployed/ installed on Bristol Head at 11,000 feet.

Lobo Overlook  

A temporary Doppler Radar unit monitored weather activity over the West Fork Complex Fire burn scar from Lobo Overlook on Wolf Creek Pass during August and September.

This PX1000 Doppler Radar unit came from Oklahoma University’s Advanced Radar Research Center located in Norman, Oklahoma.  Project partners include RWEACT, the USDA, Forest Service, and the Office of Emergency Management (San Luis Valley and Southwest Regions).  The height of the mountains surrounding the burn scar areas results in an inability for the existing National Weather Service (NWS) radar to capture the late summer weather.   Low-lying, monsoonal cloud formations can create prolonged rainstorms.  Over severely burned areas, this weather can create extreme events, putting lives and property at risk.  Although the Fire occurred in 2013, the risk of flooding or mudslides can remain for many years until the burned soils have stabilized.

By providing real time data of pending weather activities in or near the burn scar to the NWS and local emergency managers, response time by trained weather spotters and emergency responders is improved. 

Radar in the San Luis Valley

A seven-county group is working with CWCB and the Colorado Department of Transportation to purchase and install permanent Doppler radar at the Alamosa County airport.

Background: The San Luis Valley is in a radar desert. Coverage from nearby radar stations in Grand Junction and Pueblo is blocked by the San Juan and Sangre de Cristo mountain ranges. The data gap negatively affects efforts in water supply forecasting, hydrologic modeling, as well as public safety and emergency management in the San Luis Valley. Existing water supply forecast data have shown discrepancies in comparison to actual event flows, making administration of the rivers for water rights and accurately meeting the compact obligation difficult tasks. By securing permanent radar in the San Luis Valley, local hydrologic modeling data can be coupled with national modeling systems and local SNOTEL sites to help with water rights administration and interstate river compact obligations. Additionally, the radar will provide local emergency managers the ability to recognize threats to public safety, including fire and flood events.

Primary Benefits:
  Streamflow Forecasting
  Water Rights and Compact Administration
Secondary Benefits:
  Weather Forecasting
  Emergency Management and Public Safety
  Hydrologic Modeling
  Improved Visibility for Aviation
  $70,000 Tower and Setup Costs
  $750,000 Radar Purchase
  ~$50,000/yr O&M