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Media Release
The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray

3 September 2001

Greater Coverage for Bureau's Weather Radars

Rural and Regional Australia will benefit today from an expansion in the coverage of the Bureau of Meteorology's weather radars, according to the Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone.

"Aerial coverage and images from the 44 weather radars around Australia will be extended from 128 kilometres to 256 kilometres on the Bureau's website from today", Sharman Stone said.

"This four-fold increase in coverage will enable many more people living in rural and regional areas to log onto and take advantage of the radar images, tracking weather conditions such as rain, hail, snow and drizzle in real time".

"The Bureau's website is already one of the most commonly used Australian sites, with up to 3 million 'hits' each day".

"The radar service has been especially useful for agricultural areas where orchardists, for example, can track an approaching hail storm which can do a lot of damage to the fruit harvest".

"Weather radars also play an important role during times of flooding by giving advance warning of extra, heavy rain. Local emergency services can then better co-ordinate evacuations, sandbagging and other urgent activities".

The Bureau provides a wide range of weather services to communities throughout Australia.

"Whether it is warning services to those affected by tropical cyclones around our northern coastline, observations and forecasts in support of aviation safety or the daily weather reports for hundreds of cities and towns, the Bureau is the around-the-clock provider of forecasting across the continent", Sharman Stone said.

"The expansion of the Bureau's weather radar coverage and the soon to be constructed new facilities at Yarrawonga and Bowen will further improve the communities access to weather forecasting and warnings".

"Today's announcement forms part of the Federal Government's $212m commitment to meteorological services this year".

For further information contact:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468

September 3rd 2001

Commonwealth of Australia