Hoeven Reviews Watford City Recovery Process, Outlines Efforts to Improve Tornado Warning System in Western North Dakota

Senator Working to Ensure NOAA Studies Gaps in Radar Coverage for Watford City

WATFORD CITY, N.D. – Senator John Hoeven today toured the Prairie View RV Park and hosted a roundtable with leaders from the Watford City area to review the recovery process following last month’s tornado and outline his efforts to improve the severe weather warning system for western North Dakota. In response to the recent disaster, which displaced approximately 200 local residents and led to dozens of injuries and one death, Hoeven pressed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to study gaps in the agency’s Doppler radar (NEXRAD) coverage for Watford City and western North Dakota. Hoeven continues working to advance a solution that will help ensure communities in the region are better alerted to severe weather.

“This meeting is about ensuring the recovery process is going as well as possible and moving forward on a solution to prevent tragedies like this in the future,” said Hoeven. “We’re working to ensure western North Dakota is included in NOAA’s study of the gaps in the Doppler radar system. Doing so will help us identify the best way to strengthen our early warning system for severe weather and protect our state’s residents.”  

Because of the gaps, NOAA did not issue a tornado warning for Watford City on July 10 when an EF2 tornado touched down. Hoeven’s work with NOAA aligns with the Weather Research and Forecasting Innovation Act, which Congress passed and the president signed into law last year. The bill requires the agency to study gaps in NEXRAD coverage and provide recommendations to address these gaps.