Canada's newest weather radar begins operations in Alberta

Kyle BrittainVideo Journalist

Tracking severe weather is critical now more than ever as the climate changes. Here's how this new radar site will help.

Alberta has a new weather radar which will help more accurately detect severe weather events within its range.

As part of the ongoing upgrades to Environment and Climate Change Canada’s existing radar network across the country, a new site was added near Fort McMurray.

“The site was chosen because the area around Fort McMurray has seen enormous population and economic growth over the last couple of decades,” says Kyle Fougère, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist from Environment and Climate Change Canada. “It’s an area known for its severe weather events, with severe thunderstorms, flooding, and wildfire occurring up there with regular frequency.”

Environment Canada: CASFM radome work July - radar

Prior to this installation, there was no pre-existing radar in this region. The new radar installation near Fort McMurray will expand coverage for northern Alberta. (Environment and Climate Change Canada)

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The new radars have expanded capabilities including an improved ability to determine differences between precipitation types, detect rotation within thunderstorms from greater distances, and even sample non-meteorological returns, such as birds, dust and insects, and even tornado debris.

The radar imagery is also higher resolution and updates more quickly.

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The entire national upgrade to the now 33 sites is expected to be complete by the end of 2023.

To learn more about the $140-million nationwide project, watch the video above.