Radar honing in on the weather
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.