When Will the Wimmera-Mallee Get a Weather Radar?
Victoria's Wimmera-Mallee is a region which heavily relies upon accurate weather forecasts to help farmers and people working in primarily agricultural industries to do their jobs effectively.
But the closest weather radar is around 300km away, with one in Mildura and one in Mount Gambier, meaning locals aren't receiving real-time weather forecasts specific to their region.
Image Source - Bureau of Meteorology
The Bureau of Meteorology previously shortlisted two sites - one in Donald and one in Hopetoun - as potential locations for a weather radar, but the project seems to have since been shelved.
Susie Burke from The Donald Weather Station spoke to Flow FM on today's Country Viewpoint to explain the situation and the importance of a weather radar to the Wimmera-Mallee.
UPDATE 27/7: After requesting an interview with the Bureau of Meteorology they declined, instead providing Flow FM with this statement:
The Bureau of Meteorology has identified a number of suitable sites for the Wimmera Radar and will advise the community when the site lease is signed.
The site selection process is well advanced, however it is inappropriate to speak about any specific location as there are commercial and legal considerations in terms of signing a lease.
The community can be assured that the final site will be located in the Wimmera region and provide radar coverage to local residents and businesses.
The radar, a joint project from the Bureau and Victorian Government, will present numerous benefits to the Wimmera community, as well as national benefits for the Bureau to expand its observation network.
The Victorian Government signed the contract with the Bureau of Meteorology in April 2018 to commit funding for the capital costs for the project.
Regular updates about the project's progress will be provided to the community before the radar becomes operational in mid-2020, if not sooner.
Federal Member for Mallee Andrew Broad was at the Mallee Machinery Field Days on August 1, and spoke to Flow FM about the Wimmera Mallee Weather Radar and what needs to be done by the Bureau.
The Wimmera Development Association (WDA) have been involved in this project from the get go, with WDA Executive Director Ralph Kenyon explaining the latest update on today's Country Viewpoint (5/9/18).
Flow FM will continue to investigate this story.