New South Wales Information

Canberra (Captain's Flat)

Interpretation Notes

The Captain's Flat radar has a very good view in all directions and is the primary weather radar for the A.C.T., the Southern Tablelands and the New South Wales south coast, with coverage extending across the Monaro region through to the Victorian border. The radar dish is situated on a 22.35m cylindrical tower atop Mt Cowangerong, at a height of 1,381.6 metres above sea level. An area of false echoes is sometimes evident about 20km off the coast between Batemans Bay and Moruya (East to East South East) and extending a further 80km out to sea. This anamolous propagation is easily identified and displays as a mass of low intensity echoes, constantly changing shape but with no apparent direction of movement. True rain echoes normally have a consistent direction of movement from one scan to the next. Wind farms are sometimes visible as stationary echoes between Goulburn and Gunning and around Lake George.

Grafton

  • Location: NSW Agriculture Research Station, Grafton (lat 29.62° S, long 152.97° E)
  • Type: WSR 74 S Band
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Grafton radar has a very good view in all directions and is the primary weather radar for the North East of NSW. It should provide useful weather information as far west as Glen Innes, south to Kempsey and north to the Gold Coast. There is a tendency to observe areas of false echoes within approximately 100 kilometres of the radar over the sea. These are normally easy to recognise because they are usually the lowest intensity level and randomly scattered with erratic movement from one radar scan to the next. True rain echoes normally have a consistent direction of movement from one scan to the next. Due to its location, this radar is often unable to detect light showers or drizzle beyond a range of 100 kilometres. Although largely removed from the display, anyone to the south west of the radar (50 kilometres or more from Grafton) may find an occasional false echo generated by the mountains in this region.

There is a small blind spot within a few kilometres of the radar.

Moree

  • Location: Moree Airport (lat 29.50° S, long 149.85° E)
  • Type: WF 100 C Band
  • Availability (Typical): Midnight - 09.15; 10.30 - 15.15; 16.30 - 21.15; 22.30 - midnight

Interpretation Notes

The Moree radar has a good view in most directions to a distance of 100 km. Nearby buildings severely restrict the view in the directions 110 degrees to 127 degrees (approximately east-southeast). Beyond 100 km, the view is limited for directions from the northwest through north to the east-southeast. It should provide useful weather information as far west as Walgett, south to Gunnedah, north to Goondiwindi and east to Delungra. Being a "C Band" radar, if there are large thunderstorms around, the radar will not be able to detect accurately the strength of other storms located behind the closest storms. This will also lead to the underestimation of the strength, at times, of very intense local storms. There is a tendency to observe small areas of false echoes within approximately 50 kilometres of the radar. These are normally easy to recognise because they are usually the lowest intensity level, very small and randomly scattered. Heavy rain over the radar itself will reduce the reliability of the radar in all directions.

There is a small blind spot within a few kilometres of Moree Airport.

Namoi (Blackjack Mountain)

  • Location: Black Jack Mountain, near Gunnedah (lat 31.0240° South, long 150.1915° East)
  • Type: DWSR 8502S 2° S-band
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

Geographical Situation

The radar is located on Black Jack Mountain, about 8 km WSW of Gunnedah, at nearly 700 metres above sea level. This gives the radar an excellent view in all directions. Based on detecting echoes at an altitude of 3,000 metres, the radar coverage extends north across Moree, northeast over Inverell andGuyra, east to Armidale, southeast to Scone and the Upper Hunter, south to Mudgee, southwest towards Dubbo and Gilgandra, west to Coonamble and northwest over Burren Junction.

Meteorological Aspects

The radar should provide excellent coverage of the Namoi region, including Tamworth and the Liverpool Plains. The radar is well placed to detect thunderstorms and deep rain-bearing systems in almost all directions, often at greater range than quoted above. An obstruction at a bearing of about 228 degrees suppresses weather echoes through a narrow sector in this direction, which extends towards Dubbo. The rugged terrain of the region may compromise the radar's view of low-level conditions in some directions. In particular, the Liverpool Ranges and Warrumbungles to the south and southwest of the radar obstruct the radar's view of low-level conditions beyond about 100 km in these quadrants. This means that light showers and drizzle activity over the Upper Hunter and the Dubbo/Gilgandra regions may not be detected by the Namoi radar. People in the Hunter region are advised that the Newcastle radar will provide superior coverage in most conditions. Similarly, the Nandewar Ranges will somewhat compromise detection of light showers and drizzle over the Gwydir region, including Inverell and Bingara. The Moree radar, though less sensitive, will provide an alternative view of these areas. The Great Dividing Range affects longer range coverage in the eastern quadrants and the better situated Grafton and Newcastle radars will generally provide better coverage over eastern parts of the Northern Tablelands.

Non-meteorological Echoes

In most cases, the processing system at the radar removes permanent echoes caused by mountains, hills, buildings and other solid objects. Occasionally, however, some may not be completely removed from the display. These usually show up as small, stationary, erratically visible specks, mostly over the higher ground of the Great Dividing Range, the Liverpool Ranges, the Warrumbungles and the Nandewar Ranges. On cold clear winter nights and mornings these echoes may become stronger and increase in number due to downward refraction of the radar beam by the cold air near the Earth's surface.

Newcastle

  • Location: Lemon Tree Passage (lat 32.730° S, long 152.027° E)
  • Type: WSR 74 S Band Doppler
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Newcastle radar has a very good view in all directions and is the primary weather radar for the populated areas around Newcastle and the New South Wales central coast. It should provide useful weather information as far north as Port Macquarie, west to Wollemi National Park and South to Campbelltown. There is a tendency to observe areas of false echoes within approximately 100 kilometres of the radar over the sea. These anomalous propagations are easily identified and are displayed as a mass of low intensity echoes, constantly changing shape with no apparent direction of movement from one radar scan to the next. True rain echoes normally have a consistent direction of movement. This radar is often unable to detect light showers or drizzle beyond a range of 100 kilometres. Heavy rain over the radar site will cause attenuation of all signals. Path attenuation also occurs when the radar beam passes through an intense thunderstorm cell; the returned signal from cells further along that path will be reduced. Apart from these features, the radar performs well and gives a reasonably accurate representation of rainfall intensity.

Norfolk Island

  • Location: Aerodrome, Norfolk Island. (latitude 29.033 S, longitude 167.933 E)
  • Type: WF 100 C Band
  • Availability (Typical): Midnight - 09.15; 10.30 - 15.15; 16.30 - 21.15; 22.30 - midnight.

Interpretation Notes

The Norfolk Island radar has good coverage in most directions but trees to the north obstruct the radars view. Being a C Band radar, if there are large thunderstorms around, the radar may not be able to detect accurately the strength of other storms located behind the closest storms. This may also lead to the underestimation of the strength, at times, of very intense isolated storms. Heavy rain over the radar itself will reduce the reliability of the radar in all directions. There may be a tendency to observe areas of false echoes from the sea surface within approximately 50 kilometres of the radar. There is a blind spot of 1 km radius centred on Norfolk Island Airport. Operational constraints may occasionally limit the availability of data from this station.

Sydney (Terrey Hills)

Interpretation Notes

Geographical Situation

The radar is located 18 km north of the Sydney CBD. The Terrey Hills site, on the Hornsby plateau at an elevation of 195 metres above sea level, gives the radar an excellent view in all directions.The rough topography of the Great Dividing Range slightly compromises the radar's view to the west, but the coverage to the north, east and south is largely unobstructed. Based on detecting echoes at an altitude of 3,000 metres, the radar coverage extends as far north as Bulahdelah and Scone, west to Mudgee and Bathurst and south to Goulburn and Ulladulla.

Meteorological Aspects

The radar will readily detect thunderstorms and deep rain-bearing systems approaching from any direction, often at greater range than quoted above. The high sensitivity of the radar will assist in the detection of drizzle and light shower activity over Sydney, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains, but, as with other radars, the curvature of the Earth may hide these usually shallow weather systems at longer range. People in the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and lower Mid North coast are therefore encouraged to refer to the nearer Newcastle radar, those in the Illawarra the Wollongong (Appin) radar and users on the Southern Tablelands the Canberra radar.

Non-meteorological Echoes

In most cases, processing of the radar signal removes permanent echoes caused by hills, buildings and other solid objects, but sometimes a few slip through. These usually show up as small, stationary or erratically moving specks, mostly over the higher ground of the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands and Barrington Tops areas. On cold clear winter nights and mornings these echoes may become stronger or increase in number due to downward refraction of the radar beam.

Ships are regularly observed over the sea. These appear as specks or short arcs (oriented perpendicular to the direction of the radar). They can often be tracked moving towards or away from port over a series of images.

During strong winds and very rough seas, sea clutter may be visible off the coast out to a range of about 30 km. This sea clutter tends to remain in the same area and can therefore be distinguished from rain echoes, which generally move with the wind.

Wagga Wagga

  • Location: Wagga Wagga Airport (lat 35.17° S, long 147.47° E)
  • Type: WF 100 C Band
  • Availability (Typical): Midnight - 03.15, 04.30 - 09.15; 10.30 - 15.15; 16.30 - 21.15; 22.30 - midnight

Interpretation Notes

The Wagga Wagga radar has a very good view in most directions but trees to the north west block the view almost entirely between the north west and north north west. A low range of hills in the southern sector limit its useful range to about the Murray River. It should provide useful weather information as far west as Colleambally, north to Grenfell and east to Canberra. People in the ACT should realise that this area is near the outer limit of the radar coverage so low level weather echoes will not be detected and the radar will be unable to detect weather systems approaching Canberra from the eastern sectors. Being a "C Band" radar, if there are large thunderstorms around, the radar will not be able to detect accurately the strength of other storms located behind the closest storms. This will also lead to the underestimation of the strength, at times, of very intense isolated storms. Heavy rain over the radar itself will reduce the reliability of the radar in all directions. There is a tendency to observe small areas of false echoes within approximately 50 kilometres of the radar. These are normally easy to recognise because they are usually the lowest intensity level, very small and randomly scattered.
There is a blind spot of 1 km radius centred on Wagga Wagga Airport.

Wollongong (Appin)

  • Location: Appin Road, Bulli (northwest of Wollongong — lat 34.264° S, long 150.874° E)
  • Type: DWSR 8502S 2° S-band
  • Availability (Typical): 24 hours per day

Interpretation Notes

The Wollongong (Appin) radar was installed as part of the Strategic Radar Enhancement Project (SREP).

Geographical Situation

The Wollongong (Appin) radar is located on the Woronora plateau about 18 km north-northwest of the Wollongong CBD. The site, at an elevation of 449 metres above sea level, gives the radar an excellent view in all directions. The rough topography of the Great Dividing Range and the Southern Highlands slightly compromise coverage in the northwest, west and southwest sectors, but coverage to the north, east and south is largely unobstructed.

Based on detecting echoes at an altitude of 3,000 metres altitude, the radar coverage extends north across Newcastle and Singleton, northwest across the Bathurst region to Rylstone and Blayney, southwest to around Lake George (between Goulburn and Canberra) and south to Braidwood and Batemans Bay.

Meteorological Aspects

The radar will readily detect thunderstorms and deep rain-bearing systems approaching from any direction, often at greater range than quoted above. The high sensitivity of the radar assists the detection of drizzle and light shower activity over Wollongong and the Illawarra/Southern Highlands region as well as over southern parts of Sydney, but, as with other radars, at longer range these shallow weather systems may be under the radar beam and therefore not detected.

While the Wollongong radar provides useful coverage of Sydney, users in that area are encouraged to use the Sydney (Terrey Hills) radar which will provide superior coverage in most circumstances. Similarly, people in Newcastle should refer to the closer Newcastle radar and Canberra residents the nearer Canberra (Captains Flat) radar.

Non-meteorological Echoes

In most cases, processing of the radar signal removes permanent echoes caused by hills, buildings and other solid objects, but sometimes a few remain. These usually show up as small, stationary or erratically moving specks, mostly over the higher ground of the Great Dividing Range and Southern Highlands. On cold clear winter nights and mornings these echoes may become stronger or increase in number due to downward refraction of the radar beam.

Ships are regularly observed over the sea. These appear as specks or short arcs (oriented perpendicular to the direction of the radar). They can often be tracked moving towards or away from port over a series of images.

In strong winds and very rough seas, the Wollongong radar may show sea clutter off the coast out to a range of about 100 km. This sea clutter tends to remain in the same area and can therefore be distinguished from rain echoes, which generally move with the wind.

Areas of light stationary echo often appear close to the radar (within about 50 km) around sunset and can persist for much of the night. These are due to the collective activity of flying nocturnal insects and other wildlife.