Upgrade puts weather radar out of action

Toby HusseyAlbany Advertiser
Albany Meteorological Office is part of a national BOM review and may become fully automated.
Camera IconAlbany Meteorological Office is part of a national BOM review and may become fully automated. Credit: Malcolm Heberle

Farmers, emergency groups and storm nuts, be aware — Albany’s weather radar will be out of action for three months from February.

Albany’s Bureau of Meteor-ology radar will be offline from early February through to May as the technology is upgraded to provide high-resolution imagery and advanced forecasts.

Known as Doppler, the technology can give real-time rainfall, wind and thunderstorm information, live within six minutes.

That information can be vital for emergency services facing a bushfire, and for property owners tracking severe thunderstorms.

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Doppler technology has taken off worldwide and is widely used in Europe and North America, and is gradually being rolled out across WA.

Already, five sites in WA have the technology installed, and upgrades at Geraldton and Esperance are understood to be planned.

When the last WA bureau was upgraded with Doppler technology in 2017, at Watheroo, north of Perth, Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan heralded it as a win for farmers.

“We see this as a very important part of improving the productivity of agriculture, giving you a greater capacity to make strategic judgment about your inputs,” she said.

“This radar will massively improve our capability to provide good-quality information on which to base your decisions.”

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