THE Central Highlands will remain a severe weather black spot for two more summer storm seasons, with the promised $5 million Emerald weather radar not operational until early 2010.
The Bureau of Meteorology has already scouted two likely locations for the state-of-the-art medium resolution radar announced in this year's Federal Budget, the airport and elevated land at Emerald Downs, on the northern outskirts of town.
Isolated spring thunderstorms are forecast for the Highlands over the weekend, and hail fell on a property near Lochington on Wednesday afternoon in a narrow storm band.
Central Highlands Regional Council Mayor Peter Maguire said he was upset the radar would not be operational sooner.
"I am disappointed it will take longer than what we originally understood," he told the Central Queensland News.
"I really thought it was 12 months away and (BOM) people were quick to come up here and look at sites."
Grazier Steve Marshall, whose family has been on Bedowrie, a property 50kms west of Springsure, for 113 years, is a fourth-generation weather watcher.
"A weather radar is one of the most forgotten things in the area and it astounds me one hasn't been put here sooner, because Springsure, Emerald, Clermont and the rest of the region is a highly productive area that should have weather imaging that is up to date," he said. …