Volunteers from Coonabarabran’s community radio station, 2WCR-FM, are new custodians of the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) weather observation system.
The weather recording equipment was re-located from its original site in Namoi Street to the radio studio at the Showground during July.
2WCR-FM technical officer, Rob Dean, said the idea to apply for the local BOM contract came from an advertisement that appeared in the Coonabarabran Times.
“A couple of people mentioned it to me as a possible service the radio station could perform,” Mr Dean said.
“I contacted the BOM to see if this fitted their profile and they were very interested and they encouraged me to submit an application from the station.
“The station committee was very much in agreement and, in the end, the station’s application was successful.”
During initial discussions with staff from the BOM, Mr Dean suggested the Namoi Street site was not the best location to provide a good, overall representation of weather conditions experienced in town.
“The old site next to the river gave readings that were on the low side, while readings from the airport seven kilometres away, and higher, were very different to the actual town conditions,” Mr Dean said.
“As we spoke, I think they realised we knew a bit about weather observations - we already had our own calibrated weather station here at the Showground.
“So, providing further observations for BOM was an extension of what we already do, and so it was agreed to move the observing site to the radio station.”
In addition to transferring all equipment to its new location, staff from the BOM also conducted a two-day training session with 2WCR-FM volunteers on how to use the system.
Rain, hail or shine, a roster of willing volunteers will perform observations at 9.00am each day of the week.
The process involves reading dry and wet bulb temperatures, maximum temperature for the previous 24 hours, minimum overnight temperature, rainfall for the past 24 hours, visibility readings, cloud cover and weather phenomena such as thunder storms, heavy rain and gale wind.
Readings are then entered into a BOM supplied computer and sent to BOM via the Internet.
This data appears on the BOM website at 9.30am each day.
The radio station will also benefit from a $4500 per annum financial boost for their efforts in collecting daily weather observations.
“The radio station is a community organisation, owned by the community, so having the BOM as a supporter brings money into the community,” Mr Dean said.
“It will enable the station to provide a higher level for service to our community.”
First observations from the new Bureau of Meteorology site in Coonabarabran were taken on Friday, 15 July and performed by 2WCR-FM volunteers.