Missing weather radar and bunged up rain gauges

Estimated accumulations from weather radar

As far as I can see today there have been spurious returns from the extreme western edges of the Aberdeen radar in a definite line extending from the Dornoch Firth in the northeast to Mull in the southwest. The radar network is far from dense across Scotland, and although I’m guessing here, it maybe the Stornoway radar is required to intermesh with the other radars further south and east to produce a more realistic precipitation rate, and because its been out of action for a while this is just not happening.
When I worked at Kinloss as an observer in the 1990’s forecasters bemoaned the fact the much of the inner Moray Firth area was is in a kind of black hole for weather radar. Because the radar beam is so high by the time it gets here its picking up precipitation from 5000 feet or higher and maybe something like that was happening today. The estimates from 00 UTC for here in Strathpeffer of 19.2 mm are just far too high, I don’t have a gauge but I doubt if we had more than a millimetre since midnight. This is backed up by the 06-18 SYNOPs totals (see below), but you can’t believe all of these readings either, I am quite sure the trace of rainfall reported by the AWS at Aviemore, Aboyne and Loch Glascarnoch at 18 UTC are all wrong because the gauges at each of those sites are all bunged up with ice and snow (even though I always thought they were heated).
It’s odd that the RAF haven’t taken a keener interest in the siting of weather radar because it’s noticeable that the RAF stations at Valley, Marham and Lossiemouth are all either in or close to one of these weather radar black holes. The other mystery is why none of the revenue that North Sea oil generated never managed to fund a weather radar on either Orkney or Shetland, with some of the highest number of helicopter movements anywhere in the world I would have thought it was critical for flight safety.

Excuse the red only colour scale – work in progress
Courtesy UKMO

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