Radar hon­ing in on the weather

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

South Waikato farm­ers will have a bet­ter han­dle on the weather with the open­ing of a weather radar on the Ma­maku Plateau last month.

MetSer­vice gen­eral man­ager of na­tional weather ser­vices Norm Henry said New Zealand’s ter­rain and rapidly vary­ing weather pro­vided tough chal­lenges in ob­serv­ing rain­fall.

‘‘MetSer­vice is proud of the world-class weather ser­vices we pro­vide for New Zealan­ders’’, said Mr Henry. ‘‘We are com­mit­ted to a long-term pro­gramme of con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment of our ob­ser­va­tion sys­tems. Im­prov­ing tech­nolo­gies are pro­vid­ing us new ways in which we can con­tinue to be at the fore­front of weather fore­cast­ing.’’

The new Ma­maku radar has a range of 300km and largely un­in­ter­rupted views across the Bay of Plenty, Coro­man­del, Waikato and North Taranaki, and to­wards the Cen­tral Plateau, as well as across the ranges into Gis­borne and Hawke’s Bay.

‘‘It is a pow­er­ful weather fore­cast­ing tool pro­vid­ing de­tailed de­pic­tion of tor­ren­tial rain, hail and snow storms,’’ said Mr Henry. ‘‘Data from this radar will sup­ple­ment our Se­vere Thun­der­storm Warn­ing net­work. Its cov­er­age over­laps with the Auck­land, New Ply­mouth and Mahia radars and pro­vides more com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age of the Bay of Plenty area.

The radar also pro­vides back-up cov­er­age over a large part of the North Is­land in the case of any equip­ment fail­ure at other lo­ca­tions. The radar is the third of five new radars be­ing es­tab­lished to pro­vide high­res­o­lu­tion weather in­for­ma­tion across New Zealand, pro­vided a net­work of nine such radars by 2012.

‘‘Dur­ing the 1980s and 1990s a net­work of radars was es­tab­lished at Auck­land, Welling­ton, Can­ter­bury and South­land,’’ com­mented MetSer­vice chief ex­ec­u­tive, Paul Reid.

‘‘ MetSer­vice com­menced a net­work ex­pan­sion in 2008 with the in­stal­la­tion of a new radar at New Ply­mouth, fol­lowed in 2009 by an­other at Mahia Penin­sula on the East Coast. ‘‘

The next radar in­stal­la­tion is sched­uled in Westland in 2011 and an­other in North­land in 2012.

Im­agery from the new radar is now freely avail­able on www.metser­vice.com and, for mo­bile users, on m.metser­vice.com


WEATHER WATCH: South Waikato eas­ily falls within the range of a new rain radar on the Ma­maku Plateau.

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