|The new weather radar which promises to improve weather and rainfall forecasts for the Wimmera and Southern Mallee has taken a major step towards completion this week with the installation of the radar antenna and dome atop its 22 metre cylindrical tower.
Now standing 27 metres high, the radar - and its iconic ‘golf ball’ dome - is an impressive sight rising from undulating grain paddocks just outside of Rainbow.
Bureau of Meteorology Project Manager Paul Martin said the installation of the radar antenna and dome was an exciting and very important milestone in the Rainbow Radar project.
“The tower itself weights a hefty 32 tonnes and was erected using two cranes,” he said.
“The ‘golf ball’ dome now adds an extra five metres to the height to the structure and will be accessible to the Bureau’s technicians via a spiral staircase located inside of the tower.”
When complete, the radar - which is being built by Agriculture Victoria and operated by the Bureau of Meteorology - will deliver real-time weather information, including rainfall forecasts to communities across the Wimmera and Southern Mallee regions.
Agriculture Victoria Export Development and Investment Strategy Director Melinda Knapp, who leads the Rainbow Weather Radar Steering Committee, said the project is on track to be operational by April 2020.
“We anticipate great benefits to the local community through the improvement of real-time weather information,” she said.
“This is particularly important to the region’s farmers who will soon have better access to the weather and rainfall information they need to make important time-critical farming decisions about harvesting, tillage and the use of chemicals and fertilisers.”
Mr Martin said the installation of the radar itself and the testing of the equipment will take some time, but getting the tower, antenna and dome completed shows great progress is being made.
The construction of the radar site has been undertaken by Premier Building & Construction with the tower built and installed by Macmahon.
The $9.3 million Rainbow Radar project is being supported by the Victorian Government and the Federal Government, through the Bureau of Meteorology, in partnership with the Wimmera Development Association and other key community partners.
The dome being placed on the tower - Premier Building & Construction photo