DURANT – The State of Oklahoma’s Emergency Management Director Mark Gower will present the City of Durant with a $1.6 million grant award letter at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The grant will cover costs to purchase and manage a new Doppler radar system, giving people in the Texoma region more lead time during severe weather events.
The new radar system will close a coverage gap for citizens within an 85-mile radius of Durant. Storm spotters have assisted heavily with filling this gap, especially during tornado warnings.
The region’s nearest public access to Doppler radar in in the DFW area and Oklahoma City. This creates a delay in receiving weather radar because the National Weather Service can’t see below 11,000 feet. Durant is just outside this range.
“Problems come by the beam distancing from the radar sites, beam broadening and the lack of storm detail that that can be determined the further you are from the radar site,” said James Dalton, Assistant City Manager.
Having a Doppler radar system in place in Durant will give an added layer of protection and some peace of mind after the 2016 and 2019 tornadoes in nearby Blue, Okla., that were not detected by radar until fully formed. Both tornadoes caused fatalities in Blue, which is just 10 miles east of Durant.
Oklahoma State Representative Dustin Roberts and State Senator David Bullard were instrumental in getting the State to include the grant money in the 2021 budget.
The grant will be administered by Durant’s Emergency Management department.