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Otago welcomes new $2.8 million weather radar

Weather forecasting across Otago has just gotten that much easier, with the arrival of a new weather radar.

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The station is the first of its kind in the region. Source: 1 NEWS

The MetService radar was installed on top of one of the region's highest pieces of farmland before the technology went live last night.

It's the tenth radar of its kind in New Zealand, but the first for Otago.

Its main purpose is to help identify different types of precipitation, be it rain, hail or snow.

“It’s also really useful for the aviation industry. For hazards like severe icing, we can tell aircrafts to avoid those areas,” MetService meteorologist Lisa Murray told 1 NEWS.

Otago has previously relied on nearby radars in Canterbury and Southland for its forecasts. 

The $2.8 million radar will give the region a much more accurate picture to help plan for any weather-related events, like possible flooding.

“We’ll be able to see where the rain is coming from and possibly where it’s going,” Otago Regional Council manager of natural hazards Jean-Luc Payan says.

The radar was initially planned to be installed by mid-2020, but was delayed due to Covid-19 interruptions.

Now it's officially up and running and helping build a better picture, with fewer weather-related surprises on the horizon.