‘Why is the radar down during the wet season?’
THE shutdown of two important weather radars in outback Queensland in the midst of the wet season, nearly a year to the day half a million cattle were killed in the catastrophic flood, has left Kennedy MP Bob Katter "flabbergasted".
Mr Katter said it was not appropriate for the Bureau of Meteorology to bring down service of its Mount Isa and Longreach weather radars at the same time.
This has sparked calls for the Federal Government to fast track the construction of the two new radars it promised at Hughenden and Richmond after the flood.
"We have the most volatile weather in the country, with the highest rainfall, and the Government thinks it's a good idea to take our only source of data offline?" he said.
"Why wasn't this done during winter?"
However, a BOM spokesman said no work was done on radars if there was any likelihood of the occurrence of severe weather.
Meteorologist Matthew Bass said that the Mount Isa radar was due for five days of maintenance work this week, with the radar switched off between 9am and 5pm and only if there was no risk of severe weather.
Meanwhile, the Longreach radar was down due to a part breaking a fortnight ago.
The special part needed to be shipped in from Melbourne and had now arrived in the rural town.
"It would be great to do all the maintenance during the dry season, but we have to do it throughout the year," Mr Bass said.
"Radars need to be maintained, just like a car, otherwise they break or break more frequently."
The construction of the two new radars at Hughenden and Richmond, according to the Federal Government, won't be completed until early 2021 and early 2022 respectively.