Australia Weather News

Residents in Richmond and Hughenden say nearby radar services often break down in storms. - ABC

Two new weather radars set to fill a notorious blackspot in North Queensland will not be operational for the upcoming wet season, according to Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud.

The radars, which are set to be installed in the Richmond and Flinders shires, were part of a $28 million Federal Government commitment in the wake of last year's February flooding disaster, which killed more than half-a-million livestock.

Both shires are serviced by radars in Mount Isa, Townsville and Longreach, which are all more than 400 kilometres away.

Mr Littleproud said the new radars were still being constructed overseas and it was a complex and lengthy process.

"My understanding is they were coming from Germany and they are very close to getting into the country," he said.

"There is lag time because this is sensitive technology that isn't constructed here in Australia and has to be brought in.

"There's been a layer of complexity with COVID in bringing things in from overseas."

La Niña looms without radars

Richmond helicopter pilot David Fox played a major role in the response to last year's floods, dropping fodder to stranded livestock and flying up and down the Flinders River to check the water levels.

Mr Fox said with a La Niña weather system declared and rain on the forecast for the upcoming wet season, not having a radar was a concern.

"We don't have a colour chart at all that gives us any accuracy between Longreach, Townsville and Mount Isa," Mr Fox said.

"From what we saw last year, the inability to track any sort of intensity means that our district, and the losses in our area, were increased because we didn't have access to a radar system."

Despite the disappointment of not having the new radar system for the upcoming west season, Mr Fox said the commitment to the area was a positive.

"The funding is supposedly in place for it and it's supposedly being built so that's progress," he said.

"We can't ask for everything in our time context because maybe it takes longer."

The Bureau of Meteorology has been contacted for comment.

ABC