Farmers, truckers and even golfers wanting to know they have time to sneak a round in ahead of a rainstorm will be pleased to learn weather radar stations are back online in Radisson and Bethune, Sask.
The Environment Canada radar station in Radisson was offline for several months as it was being replaced with a newer unit, while the one in Bethune was out for repairs after being damaged in a windstorm.
Radisson’s radar station is the first weather radar station to be upgraded as part of a program that will eventually see every Environment Canada radar in the country replaced.
Environment Canada meteorologist John Paul Cragg said he was especially pleased to have the new radar operating in Radisson.
“The Radisson radar is kind of exciting because its got a whole bunch of features that as a forecaster, will help very much in the forecasting of severe weather in the future,” he said.
The new radar scans the atmosphere every six minutes, while the older one scanned every ten minutes.
Four minutes may not seem like much, Cragg said it makes a big difference in a province where large thunderstorms can develop in as little as half an hour.
“If you’re seeing the development of that thunderstorm every six minutes instead of every ten minutes, you get a much better picture of these fast-changing events,” he said.
Cragg said other features on the new radar station allow it to better discern between rain, hail and snow — which will help forecasters make the right call when they don’t have human input from the scene.
Users who want to see data from the Radisson and Bethune stations can visit the Environment Canada website.
Cragg noted that both stations are currently listed as inactive on the large composite of all radar images shown to users. However, data will appear if users click on each specific station. He explained this was a temporary issue that should be resolved sometime in March.
Bethune’s weather radar is set to be replaced in 2019.