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Know what Mother Nature’s plans are, sooner
Know what Mother Nature’s plans are, sooner

Know what Mother Nature’s plans are, sooner

Saskatchewan weather radar to be updated with new equipment

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter 

A weather radar station near Radisson, Sask. is being upgraded with state-of-the-art equipment. The station is the first to receive these improvements in Canada.

The federal government, through collaborations with Environment Canada, are budgeting to spend $83 million to update weather radars across the country, according to yesterday’s CBC News article.

Bethune, Sask. also has a weather radar which should be upgraded in 2019.

The radars in Radisson and Bethune are integral for reporting weather in Western Canada, according to Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety.

“They are very strategically located, not just servicing the people of Saskatchewan but a great portion of Western Canada, as weather systems come off the Rockies and move across the Prairies,” he said to CBC.

The new weather radar will help the ag industry prepare for weather-related events and plan for or adapt to changing climatic conditions in the future, according to a Wednesday release from the Government of Canada.

The new radars will double the range of existing ones, allowing meteorologists to better detect tornadoes and provide interactive weather maps, said John Paul Cragg, a meteorologist with Environment Canada.

The ability to detect weather conditions quickly and to have more information available is critical for meteorologists to report freezing rain, for example. This type of precipitation is difficult to predict and occurs so locally, he said.

“The new radar will create better estimates of the size, shape and variety of particles in the air, giving meteorologists more information to work with when making forecasts,” CBC said. This increased accuracy is due to the fact that new technology transmits and receives pulses of electromagnetic energy both horizontally and vertically. The old radar technology, in contrast, only reads pulses in a horizontal orientation.

Indeed, radar provides greater detail which is important when forecasting in a province where weather conditions can change on a dime.

“Radar helps determine which weather model is providing the most accurate information for future weather conditions,” Christy Climenhaga, CBC Saskatchewan meteorologist, said in a statement.

“It can give us an idea of a storm’s current direction and speed, which helps us edit out forecasts to be more accurate.”

The new radar should be ready for use by the end of December, according to the release.