An empirical study of Weather Surveillance Radar 1988-Doppler (WSR-88D) microburst detection performance is conducted using Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS) microburst detections as reference. Data from 14 airport regions during 181 independent time periods spanning the years 2015–2022 are utilized for the evaluation. Results show that the detection and false alarm probabilities depend on event range from the WSR-88D. ITWS-level detection (~95%) and false alarm (~5%) probabilities are achieved for 0 to 20 km range, while at 20 to 30 km range, detection (~80%) and false alarm (~5%) rates meeting or exceeding Weather Systems Processor (WSP) microburst detection (≥80%) and false alarm (≤15%) probability requirements are observed. Beyond ~30 km from the radar, the WSR-88D microburst detection performance falls to operationally unacceptable levels. Timing analysis indicates that, on average, WSR-88D microburst detections lag ITWS microburst detections with a median value on the order of 30 s. The detection time difference distribution shows a normal symmetric form around zero with a thin tail extending in the positive lag direction, implying that the thin tail is responsible for the positive median lag time. The lag distribution tail is shown to be shortened, and the median lag time reduced to ~10 s, if the WSR-88D's slower base scan update modes are eliminated. The study shows that the WSR-88D (and its future replacement) could generate operationally useful microburst alerts for airports that are located close enough (less than ~20 km) to the radar. The long detection lag times for a small fraction of cases that are associated with WSR-88D scan strategies that have long base (lowest elevation angle) scan update periods is an issue that may need to be addressed if the current system is to be considered for operational air traffic control purposes. Also, the unavailability of output data from the first eight range gates (2 km) should be addressed for a future replacement radar by adding a minimum observation range requirement comparable to the Terminal Doppler Weather Radar's (TDWR; 0.5 km) to the follow-on radar program requirements.