Enterprise, Alabama, is best known for the boll weevil monument, but just a few miles down the road, you’ll find the HQ for EEC. It’s an unassuming building on the outside. On the inside, EEC is responsible for building the radars that help monitor weather around the globe.
“We started off in 1974 building the first weather service radar,” said Michael Knight, VP of Development and Innovation for EEC. Now, they’re in more than 90 countries worldwide, more than 1000 radars in service.
The three Doppler radars that make up the WAAY 31 StormTracker Early Warning Radar Network is the only radar system that can cover every square inch of North Alabama and provide earlier warnings with precise, real-time accuracy that can see storms other radars miss. Other radar systems, including the National Weather Service, have significant gaps in their radar coverage areas to see storms closer to the ground. With Doppler radars located in Muscle Shoals, the Decatur-Huntsville area, and Guntersville, the WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network is the largest privately-held weather radar system in the United States.
As we toured the facility, Knight pointed out radar headed to Tanzania and Lebanon. The company just finished installed 18 radars for the German National Weather Service. “We have them about everywhere you can look,” he said. “Africa, Europe, Asia.”
This large pedestal is headed to South Korea for their weather service.
The fabrication is precise, detailed work. It takes more than a year to build a Doppler radar and then it goes through months of rigorous testing.
It’s here that the WAAY 31 Storm Tracker Early Warning Radar Network was built. Three radars – placed all over – the Huntsville-Decatur area, Sand Mountain, and the Shoals – provide an even earlier warning for storms approaching our area. It’s the largest privately held radar network in the country.
If you drive by these locations, you’ll see the big white ball with the WAAY 31 logo. This is what it looks like inside.
During our trip to the factory, EEC had equipment inside and outside conducting what they call F.A.T. tests. That stands for Factory Acceptance Testing. Each test is conducted multiple times and the results are entered into a book about four inches thick. Before a radar leaves the factory, it will be thoroughly tested.
Once it arrives on site and the installation is complete, the testing process starts all over with the S.A.T. test. The Site Acceptance Test runs through the same diagnostics on site to make sure it works perfectly in the real world.
The WAAY 31 Early Warning Radar Network is North Alabama’s most advanced radar system and it sees details that other radars miss – eliminating the blind spots and safety gaps in other radars.