World’s highest weather radar station goes into operation west of Cuenca; system will provide early warnings for floods, officials say

Apr 6, 2015 | 2 comments

It’s the highest weather radar station in the world and, according to officials, will provide early warnings to water management personnel that will prevent flooding.

Weather radar station west of Cuenca. Photo credit: El Mercurio.

Weather radar station west of Cuenca. Photo credit: El Mercurio.

The station, which will also provide data for air traffic and scientific studies, was constructed in the Cajas Mountains, west of Cuenca, at an altitude of 14,600 feet, or 4,450 meters. It was built by the German company, Radar Sur.

According to Cuenca Mayor Marcelo Cabrera, the radar will provide early warnings to water engineers so flooding waters can be diverted from agricultural lands, roads and public water supplies. “The timing is important since we are the middle of the rainy season,” Cabrera said. “The system will give us advance information that we have not previously had,” he said.

Erwin Beck, representative of the Radar Sur, said that the radar station is part of a network of weather radar stations that will provide meteorological measurement for southern Ecuador. The other two are located in Loja Province. In addition to Azuay and Loja Provinces, the stations will also service Cañar, El Oro, Zamora and Guayas Provinces.

Beck said that at the time of construction, Radar Sur was unaware that the Cuenca station was the highest in the world. “We found out as construction was concluding,” he said. “We are happy with the distinction,” he said.