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Weather uncertainty confirms need for Wimmera-southern Mallee radar

weather radar

By DEAN LAWSON
Uncertainty surrounding the extent and potential impact of last week’s rain has galvanised belief in the need for enhanced real-time weather-radar services in the region.
Wimmera Development Association executive director Ralph Kenyon said circumstances last weekend revealed why Wimmera and southern Mallee leaders had zealously pursued the project.
“The rain system really confirmed the lack of real-time information available to the region. We look forward to the future in being able to see what weather is on the way without having to guess,” he said.
“For the average person on the street, let alone farmers and emergency services, being able to see on the radar exactly what weather is coming and where and when it will arrive will make a big difference in decision-making.
“The critical aspect in having a real-time radar is that it can provide very specific local information and remove any sort of second guessing when it comes to response times and preparation.”
Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke agreed, adding that having an acute understanding of what type of weather was on the way could heavily influence an immediate course of action.
“It might only mean giving people an extra hour or two to consider a situation and what they need to do. It is about helping people identify priorities,” he said.

Ralph Kenyon, Wimmera Development Association.

Ralph Kenyon, Wimmera Development Association.


The Bureau of Meteorology had short-listed Hopetoun and Donald for a new multi million-dollar radar station but has ruled out both and is now looking for alternative sites.
Mr Kenyon said he remained confident the station, regardless of where it would ultimately be based, would be operational by the middle of next year.
“We know the equipment has been purchased and we expect a decision on a site in the near future,” he said.
The bureau originally had a list of 12 sites to consider for the Wimmera Doppler Weather Radar Project, designed to fill a weather-forecasting gap between radar stations at Mildura and Mt Gambier.
The State Government has provided $5-million for the project and the Federal Government $3.2-million to $4-million to cover commission and annual operation and maintenance costs.
Wimmera Development Association developed a business case for the project and has worked in collaboration with municipal engineers and the weather bureau.
Mr Kenyon said the association, in working on the radar project, was constantly exploring ways to make the region’s agricultural industry as productive and efficient as possible – in good or poor seasons.
He said a Wimmera pulse protein-powder plant project was an example of looking at ways of maximizing opportunities when crops were subject to downgrading because of weather damage.
“If we had our protein-powder plant in place and operational it might have provided farmers with an alternative way to get a decent price,” he said.
“It would mean that in such a circumstance we could capitalise on poor conditions and turn those into positives.”
Mr Kenyon revealed earlier this year that a major company was considering investing in the protein-powder project.

The entire December 6, 2017 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=53097

Posted on Dec 6 2017

Posted by on Dec 6 2017. Filed under Agriculture, Environment, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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