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The old Townsville radar will be routinely switched off between 5:00 am to 7:30 pm AEST while the new radar is being worked on.
The Bureau of Meteorology is undertaking significant work to improve Queensland radar infrastructure. As part of this, we are currently replacing the Townsville weather radar with modern and reliable dual-polarised Doppler radar technology. During the installation of the new radar, the old Townsville radar will be switched off from 5:00 am to 7:30 pm AEST during the following periods:
During this time the Bureau will construct a new radar tower, radome and equipment shelter, approximately 50 metres from the existing Townsville weather radar. In the event of severe weather, construction will stop and the old radar will be temporarily returned to service. Radars emit non-ionising radiation when in operation, so to ensure the safety of workers the old radar needs to be switched off while the new radar is installed.
Under normal operating conditions, weather radars pose no hazard to the general public. From 2 January 2024, the current radar beam has been switched off in a small arc to the north-west, towards the new radar tower. This prevents reflections from the new radar tower damaging the current radar. This process is called sector blanking. We expect to complete the upgrade by mid-2024, subject to any unforeseen delays.
During the outage period, those seeking additional situational awareness of rain can use a range of alternative sources.
Hourly rainfall forecasts and observations will continue to be available on the BOM Weather app. bom.gov.au
These images are available from the Bureau's website and show cloud cover and lightning strikes. Hourly rainfall forecasts and observations will continue to be available on the BOM Weather app. There will be no impact to the Bureau's forecasts and warnings, which are informed by observations from a range of assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring and automatic weather stations. Up-to-date forecasts, observations and warnings will continue to be published on the Bureau's website bom.gov.au and on the BOM Weather app.
The upgraded radar, located 25 kilometres west-south-west of Townsville at Hervey Range, will provide the local community and industry with more reliable and up-to-date weather information. The new technology will improve the reliability of the Townsville radar, providing image quality equivalent to the new Greenvale and Richmond weather radars.