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New weather radar near Regina ‘as good as it gets’

WATCH: A newly installed weather radar system is a few weeks away from doubling forecasting capabilities in the Regina region.

A new weather radar system recently installed near Bethune, Sask., is poised to drastically improve forecasting in the region.

“It’s state-of-the-art-technology,” said Environment Canada senior meteorologist Terri Lang, “With respect to the Doppler capabilities we can now go twice as far as we did before.

“We used to be able to see 120 kilometres. Now we can see 240.”

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The Bethune radar is the latest installment of the Canadian Weather Radar Replacement Program. Announced in 2017 by the federal government, the program is set to upgrade weather radars across Canada over the coming years.

Initially, the program was priced as an $83 million infrastructure investment intended to upgrade 20 radars. The program contract, though, allows for expansion, and six more radars have since been added to the update list raising the program’s value to $107 million.

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Lang said the new technology will provide better severe weather warnings across the country.

“We’re able to see a lot better into the cloud at a much farther distance. A lot of the tornado warnings that came out this summer were actually based on the radar itself, not on somebody seeing a tornado because we’re able to see the cloud rotating at different levels through the atmosphere.,” she said.

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The Bethune radar will undergo testing over the next few weeks and is expected to be in operation by the end of September.

It’s the second and last radar in Saskatchewan to be slotted for an update. The other is fully operational and is located near Raddison.

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