Recently the ‘Weekly brought you news that the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) had commissioned the new state-of-the-art Mildura radar, located just off the Sturt Highway at Cullulleraine.
The old radar which is located at the Mildura Airport will be demolished in time, bringing to an end more than 30 years of service. It was the second oldest facility in the Bureau’s fleet of more than 60, having been commissioned in 1989.
The new Cullullaraine radar tower stands 22 metres tall and was delivered in two 11 metre lengths prior to it being hoisted into place by a large crane.
The ‘radome’ which houses the rotating radar dish is located at the top of the tower in a soccer-ball like dome.
The radar can be remotely monitored and controlled and it sends all of its data back to the BOM’s head office in Melbourne where it is processed and turned into public images for the web as well as more complex products which are used by their forecasters and also by other users of their data.
The radar operates 24/7 − 365 days a year − it is constantly running.
The site at Cullulleraine was chosen after an exhaustive search as it met the Bureau’s criteria of having optimal coverage.
It is relatively free of obstructions like trees, mountains, communication towers and buildings, is easy to access and most importantly it is now providing greatly improved radar coverage.
The Federal Government has provided the $5 million cost of this project as part of its long-term investment in the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather radar network.
The new radar with its expanded coverage incorporate the latest technology, which means it will be able to measure not just where particles are in the sky, but also what kind of particles they are and how fast they are moving.
The radar will be able to detect bushfire plumes, rain intensity, and wind velocity providing improved real-time weather services.
It will also allow the BOM to obtain a cleaner, higher quality image and another important feature is that it has state-of-the-art technology called ‘dualpol’, which is capable of detecting particle size enabling the radar to detect hail and how large the stones are.
The new radar will provide a more superior view of the horizon and will also assist with flood and severe weather warnings, emergency services management and general weather forecasting.