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MetService acting chief executive Keith Hilligan said the radar — located 25km northwest of Dunedin and 750m above sea level — provides "excellent coverage" of Dunedin City, the Taieri and Clutha River catchments, and eastern Otago from the Catlins to the Waitaki.
The $3million radar was the tenth in the national network of weather radars owned and operated by MetService.
The radar used the latest dual polarisation technology which could identify different types of precipitation — be it rain, hail or snow, Mr Hilligan said.
MetService was designated as New Zealand’s only severe weather forecasting and warning authority through its contract with the Ministry of Transport.
The national weather radar network plays an essential role in the delivery of public-safety services, Mr Hilligan said.
Aside from its forecasting value to meteorologists, real-time radar data was of great importance to hydrologists, emergency management staff and the coastal Otago community, to plan, prepare and make decisions based on the likely impact of weather.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins said the radar was "something our community desperately needs". "More accurate weather forecasting is helpful for anyone who works on the land, and means we’ll be able to plan our responses to extreme weather events more effectively."
Otago Regional Council operations general manager Gavin Palmer said the radar joined a range of data inputs for more accurately predicting and understanding weather hazards facing coastal Otago, and particularly South Dunedin.
"It’s great to have the cutting edge in severe weather forecasting here in Otago, and it will have real benefits for our communities during floods."
The radar data imagery was available on metservice.com, MetService apps, and MetService commercial products.