Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has completed the installation of a new dual-polarized Doppler weather radar at Richmond, North Queensland.
Matt Collopy, acting group executive, community services, BoM, said, “As well as improved coverage across the Diamantina, Cooper, Flinders and parts of the Norman and Gilbert River catchments, radar coverage will now extend along the significant supply route of Flinders Highway, from Mount Isa to Townsville. This will improve the Bureau’s ability to make weather observations in the region and to warn the community about the potential impacts of severe weather.”
Collopy said the technology would benefit communities including Hughenden, Winton, Georgetown and Julia Creek, as well as supporting local industry such as agriculture, transportation and tourism in making better decisions when preparing for severe weather.
“An increase in forecast accuracy helps farming businesses make timely decisions, such as movement of stock, chemical and fertilizer application, sowing and harvesting,” he added. “The radar will also provide enhanced information for emergency services with better fire plume height estimation and detection of fire-generated thunderstorms.”
As part of the Richmond radar project, BoM will install several rainfall gauges near the radar. Rainfall gauges record actual rainfall and the data is used to improve the accuracy of the radar images.
The new Richmond radar is one of four new radars being delivered in Queensland as part of an A$77.2m (US$50m) commitment by the Australian government. The Greenvale and Taroom radars have already been completed and a fourth radar will be built near Toowoomba in the Darling Downs region. The existing radar in Moree (New South Wales) will also be relocated to provide increased coverage of southern Queensland.
This project is part of the Bureau’s ongoing work to enhance and improve the Australian radar and observation network.