Two new weather radars have been installed and switched on this week at opposite ends of the country, providing weather information to essential farming and mining communities in time for the severe weather season.
One of the radars, in Dampier in Western Australia’s Pilbara region, replaces the original destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Damien in February when wind gusts of 194km/hr were recorded in the region.
The Pilbara region is the most cyclone-prone area of Australia and having real-time access to weather information is essential for the local mining industry and the community.
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said new radars can take up to two-years to become operational but collaboration with the mining industry and local government allowed the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to fast-track the Dampier replacement.
“This project has overcome significant logistical challenges related to COVID-19 restrictions, such as engineers being turned back at state borders but the BOM has worked tirelessly to ensure the radar was switched on before the onset of the cyclone and storm season in WA,” Minister Ley said.
Member for Durack Melissa Price said: “I am very pleased this new radar has been installed before the cyclone season starts which helps to protect Pilbara residents and the local resources industry, who rely on the important information that this radar on the North West coast delivers.”
Some 4500 km away in NSW at Brewarrina Airport, the first of three new radars for western NSW has also been completed. The project, developed by the BOM and funded by the NSW Government, will provide weather information to an area covering around 30 per cent of the state, including parts of southern Queensland.
Local Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said the switch-on will be widely welcomed by western NSW communities.
“The Federal Government knows how important the Brewarrina radar is to the community and has prioritised the commissioning of the radar, as it said it would,” Mr Coulton said.
“With such a busy harvest season across much of the Parkes electorate this year, I know real-time weather data in this region will be a godsend for farmers looking to make informed decisions for maximum productivity.”
Images from the radar will appear on the BOM website and the BOM Weather app from today, showing an area including Bourke to the west, Nyngan to the south and Walgett to the east.
“This is a welcome addition to the Bureau’s observing network, that will benefit all sectors of the community. It will enhance decision-making for farmers, industry and the community, as well as helping emergency services to protect lives and reduce damage from fires and floods,” Minister Ley added.
The two new radars are part of the Bureau’s national network of more than 60 weather radars.