Weather radar on track for end-of-year start

Lamb Hill, near Hindon, where construction of MetService’s new weather radar is taking place....
Lamb Hill, near Hindon, where construction of MetService’s new weather radar is taking place. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Construction of the MetService’s $2.8million weather radar in Otago will soon resume, after Covid-19 restrictions put the project on hold.

MetService meteorological data services manager Kevin Alder had anticipated the radar on Lamb Hill, near Hindon, would be operational in May this year, but the Covid lockdown created a major delay.

He said the foundations were complete and a start date for the installation of the radar had now been set for November 2.

"The installation phase normally takes two weeks, but the weather could play its part and may result in this timeline extending."

The radar transmitter, antenna and radome had been delivered and were in secure storage in Dunedin.

Off-site construction of the 12m tower was largely complete, he said.

The Otago radar will look very similar to this weather radar near Kerikeri, in Northland, which...
The Otago radar will look very similar to this weather radar near Kerikeri, in Northland, which was commissioned in 2014. PHOTO: METSERVICE

"The radar tower and ancillary buildings are currently undergoing a final fit-out and testing before being delivered to the radar site.

"MetService have also scheduled the installation of power and communications services to the site."

Mr Alder said following a short period of testing and data validation, MetService expected the radar to be operational by the end of this year.

Earlier this year, he said the delay was "unavoidable".

When the Covid-19 lockdown was put in place, staff made the "difficult, but necessary" decision to stop construction immediately.

The construction of the radar involved a large number of people and external services and equipment, which were simply not possible to bring together while only essential services were permitted to operate, Mr Alder said.

The location and topography of the site (750m above sea level, northwest of Dunedin) also meant it was not possible for on-site groundwork to proceed in the winter, which had further delayed the work.

He said the Otago radar was the largest capital project MetService was managing, and the organisation was committed to having it operable as soon as possible.

john.lewis@odt.co.nz

 

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