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Holyrood weather station new, improved and a better tracker of wild weather

cbc.ca logo cbc.ca 2020-10-16 CBC/Radio-Canada

The new weather radar station in Holyrood is now fully up and running, and the upgraded gear means meteorologists have a better view of what's happening, including in severe weather. 

"It has a longer range, especially in the doppler, which measures the speed and velocity of the particles that are falling, so that's helpful," said  Juliana Paul, who works at the Environment Canada weather office in Gander. 

The Holyrood radar station is the easternmost station on the continent, and the radar is crucial for meteorologists. 

"The old radars only could tell us the intensity of them, but now we are able to determine whether or not it's snow versus rain," said Paul, explaining the dual polarized doppler.

Modernizing equipment

The federal government announced in 2017 the replacement of its weather-radar network, of which there are 31. All of the new radars are expected to be installed by 2023. 

Earlier this summer, when the radar station went offline for its upgrade, David Neil, the warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada's Gander weather office, said it was as part of an effort to modernize Environment Canada's equipment across the country.

"Rather than saying something like 'rain beginning this evening,' we'll be able to pinpoint a little more easily when that's going to move in," Neil told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show at the time. 

He noted how crucial it was to have the best technology, given the geography. 

"Being over on the eastern side of the island, especially when we're getting through the winter season...where we do get these storms that form off the Atlantic, there's not a whole lot of data we can use to track those storms out over the open ocean," he said.

"So that radar, where it does show off shore, both south and east of the Avalon Peninsula, certainly gives us a better eye to see things as they are approaching the island."

The radar information is publicly available to anyone interested in looking at it on Environment Canada's website. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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