Longreach weather radar to provide coverage around the clock
The Bureau of Meteorology has completed the installation of an automatic wind profiler at Longreach Airport, providing real-time wind measurements of the upper atmosphere in the region for use by pilots and forecasters.
Acting Queensland Regional Director Richard Wardle said this now removes the requirement for wind observations by the weather radar, allowing continuous monitoring of rain and thunderstorms.
Prior to the installation of the wind profiler, wind observations at Longreach were collected by weather balloons, released manually by staff. As a result, radar images were not available to the public for several hours each day while the radar was used for tracking the manually release weather balloons.
"Now, with the installation of better on-the-ground weather observation infrastructure and vast improvements in satellite technology, the Bureau is able to gather more meteorological data, more frequently. This, combined with a leap in computing capacity, is driving big improvements in forecasting."
A range of industries rely on weather information for planning their activities. Examples include agricultural producers for stock and pasture management, mining and resources sectors in planning their operations, and local tourism operators.
In addition to the continuous radar coverage, the community now has access to the Next Generation Forecast and Warning System through MetEye, a service providing seven day forecasts across the continent and surrounding coastal waters down to fine scale (6km x 6km resolution) MetEye provides a level of service for regional Australia that was previously only available in metropolitan cities.
The frequency and resolution of available satellite imagery increased significantly last year with the launch of the Japanese satellite, Himawari-8. These images are now publicly available, and refreshed every 10 minutes on the Bureau's website.
All of these initiatives provide an enhanced level of weather monitoring and forecasting throughout regional Australia, helping to support better-informed and safer communities.
As has been the case for many years, specialist severe weather and flood forecasting advice for emergency services in Longreach continue to come from the Bureau's Queensland Regional Office in Brisbane.
For further information go to our Learn About Radar information page, or view the Longreach Radar Loop here.