A NEW weather radar station has been set up in Cumbria which is expected to vastly improve the county's flood warning and forecasting service.

The Environment Agency and the National Centre for Atmospheric Science have successfully deployed the mobile X-band weather radar for the next 12 months, and project leaders said it would fill a blind sport in national weather coverage.

The radar station, which is the only one of its kind in the UK, is situated in the west of the county on an open site at Sandwith near St Bees Head.

However, it will provide county wide data which it is hoped will improve the Environment Agency’s rainfall detection capability and also help researchers better understand the type of extreme rainfall that sometimes affects Cumbria.

“The deployment of the NCAS radar will help us to build a strong case for investment where it’s needed," said Tim Harrison, senior advisor for the Environment Agency.

And while the deployment is a short term one, an Environment Agency spokesman said it was hoped the data collected would provide evidence for the need to invest in a more permanent solution.