Some may have thought they were in for a soaking when a mystery rain band popped up on the radar despite a cloudless evening. Now the BOM has explained it.
Some may have thought they were in for a soaking when a mystery rain band popped up on the radar despite a cloudless evening. Now the BOM has explained it.

‘That’s not rain’: Mystery image appears on weather radar

A STRANGE echo appeared on the Bureau of Meteorology's radar west of Brisbane last night baffling locals who could not see any clouds or rain on the clear night.

But the BOM has since clarified what the 'mystery rain band' actually was.

The radars can sometimes pick up large groups of birds, insects, dust plooms and smoke which can appear like rain on the radar.

BOM forecaster Rosa Hoff said, in this instance, it was a large tactical air force training drill.

"This one was actually some countermeasures the air force was trying out," Ms Hoff said.

A photo of the Bureau of Meteorology's Mount Stapleton radar showing a large echo on a clear night. Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology.
A photo of the Bureau of Meteorology's Mount Stapleton radar showing a large echo on a clear night. Supplied: Bureau of Meteorology.

"What they do is they release some stuff that can make their planes harder to detect, which for their purposes makes sense and they test it out from time to time."

The routine testing dispersed through the atmosphere which would be a similar size to smoke.

While the locals checking their radars may have thought they were in for a soaking, the Bureau know what to look for.

"What the radar does is it sends out a beam that if it hits something it will bounce back and we will get an echo from it," she said.

"We know what to look for if it's bounced off spherical water droplets, what kind of echo to expect with dust, you'll see a big mass of fine particles and if it's dense enough it will bounce the signal back."

Originally published as 'That's not rain': Mystery image appears on radar



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