Federal member for Kennedy Bob Katter is furious the Mount Isa and Longreach weather radars are down for "scheduled maintenance" in the middle of cyclone season.
When anyone tries to access the radar from the Bureau of Meteorology webpage they get the response "the Mount Isa (or Longreach) radar is undergoing routine maintenance".
The BoM said there "may be Periodic outages from 13/01/2020 to 17/01/2020" and advised readers to "view other radar locations or satellite cloud and lightning imagery and watch for current weather warnings".
However with the Longreach radar also down, there is currently no coverage for western Queensland.
Mr Katter said residents, farmers, and graziers from Blackall to Burketown were given no prior warning of the outage and are understandably furious.
"Did the bureaucrats who scheduled the maintenance came down in the last shower? Only 12 months ago half a million livestock were lost during severe flooding from a monsoonal rain event," Mr Katter said.
"Now they think it's appropriate to schedule maintenance on two vital radars during the middle of the wet season?
"We have the most volatile weather in the country, with the highest rainfall, and the Government thinks it's a good idea to take our only source of data offline?"
Mr Katter asked why the maintenance wasn't done in winter.
"Farmers, mining camps, ships at sea, residents and tourists all use these services to prepare and proactively manage risks," he said.
"Cyclone and Monsoon events can come on suddenly and every bit of information counts."
The government promised two new radars after the last monsoon but Mr Katter is calling on them to build rain radars every 250 kilometres in regional Australia.
"The Federal Government promised to build new radars at Hughenden and Richmond, but they won't be delivered for another two years - this isn't acceptable." Mr Katter said.
"The construction of a radar at Croydon is also a priority, as the Mornington Island radar can go down for months at a time."
A BoM spokesperson said the radars were currently down for scheduled maintenance, as part of its routine servicing arrangements. This means there will be periodic outages over the next few days
"The work being done by the team in Mount Isa involves a number of procedures. Over the coming days the technicians will run through a list of tasks that include checking equipment and changing components that need to be replaced," the spokersperson said.
"Like most mechanical and technical equipment, the radar network operates best when it is properly maintained. The Bureau's maintenance schedules are designed to keep the radars in the best working order and continuing to perform their important role.
"The work will help ensure Mount Isa radar is operating at its best when it is needed. Much like the routine servicing of a car, the scheduled maintenance program helps reduce the risk of unplanned issues.
"During the period Mount Isa radar is off line people can use other radars, such as Mornington Island, the satellite viewer and MetEye for observations. The Bureau also will continue to provide warnings, forecasts and media updates to the community as usual.
"The Bureau anticipates the current works will be completed by the 17th."
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