Home' Tennant and District Times : 2015-0703 TDT Contents Vol. 40 No. 24
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July 31st- August 5th 2015
Sun sets on Tennant’s weather radar
TENNANT Creek’s weather radar was
switched off on Tuesday after the expi-
ration of a two-year reprieve deal.
The move by the Bureau of Meteorology
(BOM) was much to the consternation of local
pastoralists, mining companies and a number of
essential service providers in the Barkly region.
Plans to demolish the facility were thwarted
by a robust lobbying campaign after it was first
decommissioned back in December 2012.
The BOM, which owns and operates the radar,
cited budgetary constraints as the reasoning
behind the initial decision and claimed that it
was of “no value to the Bureau’s operations.”
However, the NT Cattlemen’s Association was
scathing in response, claiming that it would put
lives at risk and that it was something that the
cattle industry and wider community could not
Local businessman and weather enthusiast,
Mike Nash, led a successful campaign to have
the contentious decision reversed and by late
March 2013, after a minor hiccup, the weather
radar was back online.
Acting Regional Director for BOM in the
Northern Territory Ben Suter, said continuing
to operate the radar was not feasible.
However, he stressed community safety would
not be compromised by the move.
“Other technologies such as satellites and
lightning detection are providing additional
observations to allow the Bureau to monitor
weather systems across the country, not just
where a radar might be,” he said.
“This is all part of delivering the best possible
observation service to Australians and maximis-
ing the return on investment in the Bureau’s
“The Bureau’s focus on improved observing
systems goes hand in hand with developments
in our forecasting systems, with seven-day town
forecasts and the Bureau’s MetEye service now
available across all of the Territory.
“Increasingly, we’re making more detailed and
locally-relevant weather information available
to all Australians.”
Mr Suter said from mid-August 2015—well
before the start of the wet season—the Bureau
would provide ten-minute updates of weather
conditions across Australia from the new Japa-
nese Himawari-8 Satellite.
“Later in the year we will add real-time light-
ning observation data, with the combination
of these enabling the community, for the first
time ever, to track thunderstorms at 10-minute
intervals (the same frequency as radar) anywhere
across the Barkly district, and indeed anywhere
right across Australia,” he said.
Mr Suter said the BOM would continue to
provide high quality information to support
medical evacuations and emergency services,
including the continued provision of tailored
advice on request.
“Further, we are also working with the Barkly
Regional Council to organise community in-
formation sessions in the coming months to
present examples of the coming technology and
to explain how to make the best use of available
observation and forecasting tools,” he said.
Despite reassurances from the BOM, Mike
Nash says he’s not convinced and will continue
to lobby for the radar to be reinstated.
“Satellites and lightning observation equip-
ment do not adequately detect rainfall,” he said.
“That’s what radars are designed to do.
“If the radar is old and outdated, then replace it.
“We live in a region where 80 per cent of our
roads are dirt and travelling on them during the
wet season can be perilous if you don’t know
what you’re driving into.
“Pilots also rely heavily on information from
Mike said he’s back on the lobby wagon and
will not budge until he’s confident that people
in Tennant Creek and the wider Barkly have
access to information that is crucial to their
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