The weather radar used by the National Weather Service Office in central Iowa is down for five days as it gets important upgrades.

“We’re replacing some of these old parts, refurbishing some of the major components that are over 20 years old,” said Jeff Johnson, the meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service office in suburban Des Moines. “It’s about a $150 million investment across the National Weather Service, the United States Air Force and the FAA, trying to extend the life of these radars.”

The radar unit at the National Weather Service office in Johnston was first installed in 1994, but there have been other improvements since then.

“Basically we’re upgrading the transmitter pedestal and equipment shelters with this upgrade,” Johnson said of the latest upgrades.

The National Weather Service Office in suburban Des Moines covers 51 counties in central Iowa including the cities of Ames, Mason City, Fort Dodge and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metro. The weather radar in Johnston was shut down today. The upgrades should be completed by this weekend. Forecasters in the Des Moines office are using adjacent weather radar at National Weather Services offices in Davenport; Omaha, Nebraska, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; La Crosse, Wisconsin and Pleasant Hill, Missouri.

(Reporting by Brian Fancher, KLMJ, Hampton)