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Met Office

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the (a) coverage and (b) accuracy of radar monitoring of rainfall for catchment areas of (i) rivers in England and (ii) the River Severn by the Met Office; and if he will make a statement. (248201)

Weather radar coverage over England was reviewed in 2001. As a result new weather radars have been installed in Kent and County Durham. The density and coverage quality of the network in England is considered to be among the best in the world.

The catchment of the River Severn mainly falls under the coverage of the weather radar on Clee Hill, Shropshire. The coverage quality is assessed as being in category one (the highest of three categories used to classify network coverage) for that part of the catchment lying between Newtown and Gloucester, and category two above and below these points.

The Met Office routinely assesses the accuracy of rainfall estimates derived from radar. The assessment is made by comparing rainfall accumulations recorded by rain gauges with accumulations derived from the collocated radar data.

The Met Office does not routinely derive statistics which are catchment specific.