IPMA denies Cristóvão Norte regarding Loulé's weather radar

Alleged failure that has lasted for five years is information that “does not correspond in the slightest to the truth”

The Portuguese Institute of the Sea and Atmosphere (IPMA) denies that Loulé's meteorological radar has been “inoperative for at least five years”.

The complaint about this alleged situation was made on the 18th of October by Cristóvão Norte, president of the PSD/Algarve, who stated that, due to this damage, it was not “possible to prevent the effects of extreme meteorological phenomena”, namely the floods that, the day before, threw chaos into the city of Faro.

According to the statement from the leader of the Social Democrats, «the State, through IPMA, has a set of meteorological radars distributed across the country». In the South, «responding to the needs of the Algarve and Alentejo, the Vale da Rosa radar, in Loulé, is the main instrument to achieve this objective».

Now, according to Cristóvão Norte, the radar has been «inoperative for years, and, therefore, the speed and accuracy of the information provided to regional and local civil protection authorities is harmed».

Continuing his statement, the president of PSD Algarve states that «it is unthinkable that this radar has been inoperative for years. Civil protection and all the timely preparation that serves to protect lives and property are being undermined. They are sometimes working in the dark and unable to prevent situations. It’s the State falling apart.”

Therefore, he concludes, «the PSD Algarve demands that the radar in question be repaired and points out that there are PRR funds available for this purpose, the Government just needs to want and do it».

It turns out that, in response to the questions that the Sul Informação sent to IPMA, this institute guarantees that the statement that the radar has been faulty for five years and that there has been an alleged lack of data complicating the work of the authorities and Civil Protection is “not at all true”.

«The Loulé/Cavalos de Caldeirão radar, about 2 kilometers from a village called Vale da Rosa, began operating in January 2005 and the only stop, the largest and/or most relevant, occurred between April 6th and July 25th, 2022», explains IPMA, in the response sent to our newspaper.

Recently, «due to a breakdown, the radar stopped on September 20, 2023», he adds.

Now, «as the process of replacing this radar was already underway and would be imminent, it was not appropriate to carry out its repair, as the necessary parts would not be delivered in a timely manner», adds the IPMA, further revealing that « the radar was dismantled last week and the removal of the dome, pedestal and radar antenna is scheduled for the 25th.”

A replacing this radar with a more modern one was even news in the Sul Informação (click here to read this news) and in many other media, following information on the subject published by IPMA in mid-September.

At that time, IPMA announced that the Loulé Meteorological Radar would be “renovated and modernized”, along with another of the same type, existing in Coruche (Cruz do Leão).

That institute explained that «these single-polarization radars will be completely replaced by dual-polarization doppler radars. The new radars will improve the estimation of precipitation intensity and will allow the classification of different types of hydrometeors, such as drizzle, rain, hail, hail and snow.

It also informed that the new radar systems are “under construction and integration at the “Leonardo Germany GmbH” factory in Neuss, Germany”, and are expected to be installed during the months of November and December.

During the installation phase of radars and other associated equipment, namely generators and air conditioning systems and also an improvement of technical installations, IPMA added that it would “use information from the radar network of the Spanish Meteorological Agency ( AEMET), and in this context there is a radar data exchange protocol between both countries».

As part of the same investment, the installation of two automatic meteorological stations is also underway, close to the Coruche and Loulé radar systems, and (until the end of 2023) the national network of thunderstorm detectors will be reinforced, with the installation of a lightning detector in Viana do Castelo and another in Olhão, as well as the respective update of the processing system».

In terms of investments, IPMA said that the radars will cost 2.791.188 euros, the automatic weather stations 58.230 euros and the lightning detectors 169.600 euros, in a total of more than 3 million euros in investment.

Regarding the case of floods in Faro on October 17th, IPMA, in its response to the Sul Informação, explains that the ongoing replacement of the Loulé radar «did not harm any prevention work, nor could it, because the entire meteorological forecasting and surveillance system has the capacity to provide redundancy of information and data».

«Both the work on the meteorological radar was properly planned and taken care of, and this meteorological situation was clearly identified a few days ago and was timely and carefully monitored, already since its approach and passage through the Madeira Archipelago, on the 21st of October», adds the IPMA.

«Radar information is extremely important and, if it weren't, we wouldn't be working hard to modernize it, but the good response from the models in use at IPMA was important and the situation was monitored with AEMet radar information, in particular Seville radar information, with whom IPMA has protocols for exchanging information in real time, and also through multiple information from satellite images, the lightning detector network and the surface observation network». further clarifies.

The IPMA emphasizes that «the necessary meteorological warnings were issued in a timely manner and are in accordance with meteorological records».

In short, they conclude, “the country's civil protection services have never lacked rigorous and timely information”.


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