ontario news watch

Major upgrade of weather radar stations could hasten severe weather warnings

OTTAWA — Environment Canada can now spot and issue warnings about severe weather faster and more precisely with 32 newly upgraded weather radar stations across the country.

Standing almost as tall as a 10-story building, each tower is equipped with a giant white sphere that uses microwave energy to scan for signs of bad weather like rain, ice or snow.

The new towers cost between $4 million and $5 million each and provide 10 times as much data as those they replaced.

Each tower can scan an area as far as 330 kilometres away, and together all 32 stations cover nearly four million square kilometres of the country, accounting for 99 per cent of the population.

That’s four times the area covered by the old towers, which also couldn’t penetrate heavy storms to see if more rain was coming behind them.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says the radar systems will “save lives” because meteorologists can identify severe weather faster and issue warnings to Canadians with more time to take cover.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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