Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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Cairns residents to benefit from major upgrade to local weather radar


Issued: Wednesday, 10 May

The Cairns weather radar is set to undergo a significant upgrade to provide the local community and industry with more reliable and up-to-date weather information. During the upgrade, the radar will be offline for up to 8 weeks.

From Monday 22 May 2023, subject to any unforeseen delays, the Bureau of Meteorology will commence installation of a new digital receiver and control system for the Cairns radar.

The upgrade will improve severe storm prediction and cyclone forecasting. There will also be increased accuracy and reliability of the radar under severe weather conditions.

During the radar outage period, up-to-date weather information will be available via a range of sources:

• The Bureau's MetEye service provides publicly accessible images showing temperature, rain and wind 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 Greenvale and Townsville radars provide nearby coverage for the region and can be accessed on the Bureau's website and BOM Weather app.

The Cairns radar outage will have no impact on the Bureau's forecasting or warning services, which will continue to be published on the Bureau's website and on the BOM Weather app.

The Cairns radar is 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. Bureau forecasters draw on all of these sources, in addition to predictions from advanced computer models, to monitor and predict weather.

This project is part of the Bureau's ongoing work to enhance and improve the Australian radar and observation network. We are delivering 8 new radars, plus upgrades to 44 radars, almost 700 automatic weather stations and 384 flood warning network assets across the country.