UK Radar Rainfall display

Storm screendump

Storm was developed in Delphi on behalf of Plan B UK Limited for use by the UK Environment Agency, to collect and display weather radar rainfall frames.

The UK Met Office maintains a network of rainfall radar systems and distributes the data in a variety of formats (scales and data-depths) to water companies, the Environmental Agency and other parties. Data arrives between five and 60 minutes apart. Storm uses this data to help in the automatic detection of severe weather conditions: the user can quickly see a map or a table which is aggregated over any period to identify "hot-spots" of rainfall, or replay a sequence over the last few hours to watch a weather feature develop.

Alarms can be raised if rainfall in any location exceeds pre-set critical thresholds. The user configures a set of "sub-catchment areas", such as heavily urbanised zones, or upstream of flood-prone areas. Storm then uses the rainfall amounts from every radar frame to calculate how much rainfall has fallen in these critical areas, over a range of times, and raises audio and visual alarms if necessary.

Storm screendump

In addition Storm provides fast and convenient replay options, configurable zooms and maps. A separate toolbar has buttons which allow the user to toggle on/off the various data types in separate child windows.

Storm screendump

Storm accepts data from single and multiple radar sites and a special satellite frame which allows data coverage ranging from single counties, to the whole UK and Europe-wide. Storm also holds a Digital Terrain Map as an underlay, which helps relate land height to rainfall patterns.

Delphi was an outstanding vehicle for this kind of application: there were so many screen "widgets" to choose from, and useful means of controlling them. Delphi has all the flexibility you need for a high-quality application, but without the requirement to get bogged down in intricate detail when you don't want to.

Windows and Delphi

Date: 2001-2002

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