UK Radar station could aid flood warnings

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

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The weather station could help to warn of floods like this
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A new £1 million weather station is planned for installation in the north-east of England. The Met Office, Environment Agency, and Northumbrian Water all want to install the station at High Moorsley, near Sunderland. The new facility, which will feature a 16.5m (54ft) weather dome, will vastly improve weather forecasting abilities of the north-eastern areas of England. If the proposal is approved, work is planned to start in spring 2008.

The gap in the national weather radar system - a system upon which work began on in 2002, and which now has a total of 14 stations across the country - has been problematic to the flood-prone north-east areas of England, which have relied on weather equipment from Lincolnshire and Lancashire up to now, which can only measure rainfall in 5km grids. The new system will increase the resolution of the grids, with 1km grids across the major urban areas of the River Tyne, River Wear and the River Tees, and 2km grids over the rest of the region.

Cquote1.svg We estimate that more than 70 communities across the region are at risk of flooding and will directly benefit from the improved data the radar will provide Cquote2.svg

—Jacqui Cotton, Environment Agency

Jacqui Cotton, a spokeswoman from the Environment Agency, told the BBC that "the proposed North East weather radar will significantly improve our ability to predict when and where rain is likely to fall and will enable us to give more accurate and timely flood warnings." She continued on to say that "we estimate that more than 70 communities across the region are at risk of flooding and will directly benefit from the improved data the radar will provide." The radar will be able to provide detailed weather information every 15 minutes to local forecasters and information stations - which will greatly aid the forewarning of flash floods and other weather systems.

Health concerns have been met by the scheme's partners, who state that the radar is pointed in a straight line, well above people and houses, and spends 99% of its' time "listening" rather than transmitting. Transmissions made will be at less than one-quarter of the power of a conventional domestic microwave oven.

Sources

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