Newcastle weather radar upgrade

The Bureau of Meteorology will be upgrading the Newcastle weather radar, commencing Monday 22 April.

While the upgrade takes place the Newcastle radar will be unavailable for periods of several days up until 3 May 2013. During this time the Bureau's Sydney (Terrey Hills) and Namoi radars will provide some coverage of the Hunter region.

Bureau of Meteorology Acting New South Wales Regional Director, Mr Stephen Lellyett, said the upgrade would significantly improve weather radar services for the Hunter region.

"Over the weeks following the upgrade, new displays showing wind speed and direction and accumulated rainfall will become available to the community through the Bureau's website," Mr Lellyett said.

"The frequency of radar imagery will also be increased from once every 10 minutes to once every 6 minutes".

"The upgrade will enhance the Bureau's ability to monitor storm severity and fine-tune warnings during severe weather events".

"Many members of the community have come to rely on continuous radar coverage, and the Bureau has sought to minimise disruptions by planning the upgrade when weather is less likely to have an impact," he said.

The upgrade to the Newcastle radar is part of a larger project known as the Strategic Radar Enhancement Project. The 2009-2010 Federal Budget allocated the Bureau of Meteorology $48 million dollars over seven years to strengthen Australia's radar network.

The project includes the installation four new radars and upgrades to existing radars, including Newcastle and Captains Flat (near Canberra).

Through the science component of the project, radar data will be ingested directly into models as a trial to improve short term forecasting of severe weather events.

For further information about weather radars go to www.bom.gov.au/australia/radar/about/