In this extra blog we are going to talk about the Met Office radar based on the isle of Lewis. The radar is based in Upper Bayble and can be seen from many locations across Lewis with views across towards point. In 2017 the radar was upgraded and replaced as part of the Weather Network Radar Renewal undertaken by the Met Office.
Here is an image of the radar being installed in 2017
The radar opened in 2017 and is part of network of 15 across the UK
These 15 radars cover the vast majority of the UK. But they don’t cover Shetland at all which I think in 2021 is crazy but that’s another conversation for another blog.
Here is a timelapse video of the video being installed in 2017
This is a radar view from Netweather which shows rainfall across the Western Isles this afternoon 6th March 2021
The Met Office have also got a facesheet on radars here https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/binaries/content/assets/metofficegovuk/pdf/research/library-and-archive/library/publications/factsheets/factsheet_15-weather-radar-2020_temp.pdf
And here are some of the stats on the new weather radars
A very impressive bit of technology.
and finally from the Met Office explanation of how weather radar works
“Radar works by sending out electromagnetic pulses and measuring how long they take to return from a target, e.g. an aircraft or a ship. It has been known for many years that other objects can also create a return, e.g. flocks of birds or precipitation. It was soon decided that being able to ‘see’ precipitation would be of great value, so much investigation was done to perfect this method. In simple terms, a weather radar sends out a pulse at a wavelength of 5.6 cm which is reflected by precipitation (this is then compared to a number of rain gauges and adjusted accordingly).
In operational use, weather radar is in fact the only means available for measuring the location and intensity of precipitation in real time. Data is used directly by weather forecasters, and is fed into forecast models. It is also crucial for aviation (both civil and military) and flood forecasting (in partnership with the Environment Agency in England and Wales, and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland) over large areas in critical rapidly responding catchments and urban areas, underpinning the protection of life and property in both instances. Weather radars observe rain, hail and snow, but drizzle can be more difficult to detect because the droplets are so small. Doppler radar functions are also used for the detection of dangerous wind conditions (e.g. wind shear) which constitute a significant hazard to aviation safety.”
A view of the Stornoway radar from the distance
There a lot of ways to view radar data available some of them are better than others.
The Met Office app has rainfall radar on its. Its fairly poor in my view and does need an update.
Netweather both have free and paid for rainfall radar and is probably the best available in the UK .
Home and Dry app from Met4cast is a decent app to use for Iphone.
A lot of people use Dark sky but personally don’t rate it.
Thanks for reading this blog.