Qld - Information: Willis Island radar upgrade

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    Open advisory
    46 days remaining
    Start 14/09/2022
    AEST 10:00
    End 12/11/2022
    AEDT 17:00

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    Bureau of Meteorology

    To advise members of an upgrade to the Willis Island radar, and an outage to this radar whilst upgrade works are completed.

    The issue

    - From Monday 12 September 2022, subject to any unforeseen delays, the Bureau of Meteorology will commence installation of a new digital receiver and control system for the Willis Island weather radar.

    - The Willis Island weather radar, 450 km off the coast of Cairns, is set to undergo a significant upgrade to provide improved services to Northern Queensland communities, aviation, defence, emergency services and maritime safety. To make the changes, the radar will be offline for up to 8 weeks.

    - 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.

    - During the outage period, those seeking situational awareness of rain can access satellite images from the Himawari-8 satellite. Images that show cloud cover and lightning strikes are also available from the Bureau's website.

    - The Bureau's automatic weather station on Willis Island will remain operational during the radar upgrade, while the Cairns, Townsville and Bowen radars provide partial overlaps with the Willis Island radar.

    Purpose

    To advise members of an upgrade to the Willis Island radar, and an outage to this radar whilst upgrade works are completed.

    Proposal

    The Willis Island weather radar, 450 km off the coast of Cairns, is set to undergo a significant upgrade to provide improved services to Northern Queensland communities, aviation, defence, emergency services and maritime safety. To make the changes, the radar will be offline for up to 8 weeks.

    - From Monday 12 September 2022, subject to any unforeseen delays, the Bureau of Meteorology will commence installation of a new digital receiver and control system for the Willis Island weather radar.

    - The upgraded radar system will improve the tracking of winds, quality of rainfall images, predictions for severe storms and cyclone forecasting.

    - 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.

    - During the outage period, those seeking situational awareness of rain can access satellite images from the Himawari-8 satellite. Images that show cloud cover and lightning strikes are also available from the Bureau's website.

    - The Bureau's automatic weather station on Willis Island will remain operational during the radar upgrade, while the Cairns, Townsville and Bowen radars provide partial overlaps with the Willis Island radar.

    - This radar upgrade project is part of the Bureau's ongoing work to enhance and improve the Australian radar and observation network.

    - The Willis Island weather radar is one part of a comprehensive weather observation network of more than 11,000 assets including satellites, upper atmosphere monitoring, automatic weather stations, ocean buoys and flood warning networks.

    As a key stakeholder of the Bureau of Meteorology, we appreciate any support you can give to advise your colleagues or networks about this important upcoming change.

    Submitted by

    Cathy  Kingston
    Bureau of Meteorology
    cathy.kingston@bom.gov.au

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