Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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Communities around the coast of Arnhem Land set to benefit from weather radar upgrade


From Monday 6 June 2022, subject to any COVID-related delays, the Bureau of Meteorology will commence installation of a new digital receiver and control system for the Warruwi radar. To make these changes, the radar will be offline for up to eight weeks.

Acting Decision Support Services General Manager Todd Smith said the weather radar would assist people and industry on and around South Goulburn Island to track rain, wind, storms and severe weather.

"There will be no impact to the Bureau's forecasts and warnings, which are informed by observations from a range of assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring and automatic weather stations," he said.

"Up-to-date forecasts and warnings will continue to be published on the Bureau's website and on the BOM Weather app."

Mr Smith said while radars are important tools, the Bureau's forecast and weather warning service is resilient and not dependent on any one piece of equipment.

"The Warruwi radar is one part of a comprehensive weather observation network of more than 11,000 assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring, automatic weather stations, ocean buoys and flood warning networks," he said.

"Forecasts and warnings for all regions are based on a combination of many of these different observing systems. More than 90% of data that feed into the Bureau's weather models come from satellites. The network provides a comprehensive dataset that enables communities to effectively respond to weather events."

During the outage period, those seeking situational awareness of rain can use a range of alternative sources.

The Bureau's MetEye service provides publicly accessible images showing wind and rain information.

The community can also access satellite images from the Himawari-8 satellite. These images are also available from the Bureau's website and show cloud cover and lightning strikes.

The Darwin (Berrimah) and Katherine radars provide some overlapping coverage for the region, and images from these radars can be viewed on the Bureau's website and the BOM Weather app.

This is part of the most significant program of upgrades of Australia's radar and observation network in a generation. By June 2024, the Bureau is delivering 8 new radars, plus upgrades to 46 radars, almost 700 automatic weather stations and 200 flood warning network sites across the country.