Real-time weather data on the way, one of three stations in Parkes

Parkes residents will be able to see real-time weather observations when a new Doppler radar is installed by 2022. 

Deputy Premier John Barilaro signed a $24 million contract for the delivery of new Doppler radars for western NSW at the Rural Fire Service Mid Lachlan Valley fire control centre in Forbes on February 25. 

Mr Barilaro and Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) NSW State Manager Ann Farrell said the three Doppler stations would deliver real-time rainfall data as well as wind observations across almost 321,000 square kilometres of western NSW.

Optimal locations for the Doppler radar installations would be identified in the Parkes, Brewarrina and Hillston-Ivanhoe regions in the coming months, Ms Farrell said.

“The process for site selection will involve detailed site inspections and tests to ensure that Doppler radar performance and coverage is optimised, and is critically important to success in delivering the required services,” Ms Farrell said.

“It is anticipated that all three radars will be installed and operational in 2022.”

Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair said Doppler radar coverage would also help emergency services better anticipate and respond to fires which are sensitive to wind conditions and flooding caused by extreme wind and rain events.

“Unfortunately we know all too well the havoc that bush fires and storms can wreak, with 33 homes lost and 24 damaged in the state’s north earlier this month and the floods that devastated Forbes and the Central West in September 2016," he said.

NSW Farmers’ President James Jackson said the contract signing marked a significant step forward for the delivery of the three new radars, promised in June 2018 as part of the NSW Government's drought relief package.

“Our farmers make daily decisions when managing stock and crops. They are also at the front line when bushfires break out," he said.

"The increased certainty from improved weather information gathered from these new radars is critical. We look forward to engaging with the BOM on the most appropriate locations of the Doppler radars."