New Mildura radar to bring better weather information to three states

8 May 2020

The Minister for Environment Sussan Ley today announced the communities surrounding Mildura in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia are a step closer to state-of-the-art weather technology, with the Bureau of Meteorology confirming it has signed the site lease for a new Mildura radar.

The current Mildura radar is the second-oldest of the Bureau's more than 60 radars and has been operating from its present location at the town's airport since 1989. The new radar will be built roughly 45km west of Mildura, in Culluleraine, and will deliver improved coverage and weather information to the surrounding regions.

Using the latest technology, the new radar will provide coverage extending over Mildura and the surrounding area, into southern New South Wales and across to the South Australian Riverland. 

Minister Ley said this would provide vastly improved weather services to important agricultural areas in the region.

"Technological improvements will include Doppler capability and Dual Pol technology. This means we can measure not just where particles are in the sky, but also how fast they are moving and what kind of particles they are likely to be. It will detect rain drops, hail, bushfire plumes, rain intensity, and wind velocity – essentially, improved real-time weather services for the community," Minister Ley said.

The $5m replacement of the Mildura radar is being funded by the Australian Government and is part of a multi-year project to upgrade or replace the Bureau's entire radar network.

Work is also under way to install three new radars throughout western NSW, funded by the NSW Government.

"I know how much regional communities depend on good weather information, and that's why we are undertaking this significant body of work to uplift the country's radar network."

"We are committed to supporting regional Australia and this new radar, along with the broader improvements of the country's radar network will be critical in helping businesses make better decisions and keep communities safe from the impacts of severe weather," Minister Ley said.

On current plans, the Mildura facility will be operational in early 2021, though the current COVID-19 restrictions are presenting extra challenges. As with a number of radar upgrades around the country, the Bureau will keep the community updated with all significant developments.

NOTE FOR MEDIA: The Bureau of Meteorology can provide materials to illustrate this story, including an artist's impression of the radar, radar coverage maps and a video about doppler radar. Email media@bom.gov.au