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PUB to boost use of radar technology to better forecast rain, tackle floods

PUB to boost use of radar technology to better forecast rain, tackle floods

A composite image showing an X-band radar (left) and the rainfall monitoring and prediction system at PUB's Joint Operations Centre. (Photos: PUB)

SINGAPORE: To better forecast heavy rain and tackle floods, PUB is rolling out more radar equipment across Singapore.

The national water agency has developed a system which combines X-band radar equipment with a "nowcast" model, which can predict the movement, growth and decay of rainclouds.

It augments the data PUB currently receives from the Meteorological Service Singapore for rainfall alerts, and can predict when it is going to rain half an hour before it actually does, PUB said in a media release on Thursday (Jan 23).

There are currently three X-band radars installed in the northern, eastern and western parts of Singapore - a figure which PUB said it wants to double in the next two years.

X-band radars are used for localised weather monitoring as well as air traffic control and maritime vessel navigation.

READ: PUB completes Bukit Timah drainage project to reduce risk of flash floods

READ: Singapore to spend S$400 million upgrading, maintaining drains over two years

In 2016, PUB started working with the Hydroinformatics Institute and industrial electronics firm Furuno Singapore to develop a system that could provide quantitative rainfall forecast data, and the X-band radars were subsequently installed.

Since their implementation at the end of 2018, the system has been able to produce 30-minute rainfall forecasts with an accuracy of 65 per cent, according to PUB.

Rolling out more X-band radars will allow for better coverage, it added.

A machine learning algorithm will also be incorporated into the system, which will aim to improve its overall accuracy.

READ: Climate change, floods and drought: Here’s how badly Singapore could be affected

"In anticipation of more frequent extreme weather events due to climate change, we are tapping on technology to make sure that our officers can be deployed as quickly as possible in the event of heavy rainfall," said Mr Yeo Keng Soon, PUB’s director of catchment and waterways.

"We hope that this will help to reduce inconvenience to the public and keep them out of harm’s way.”

Source: CNA/nc(cy)


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