Home Natural Hazard Management Hurricane radar out of service

Hurricane radar out of service

England – This has left the National Meteorological Service without its main apparatus. Officials there are not sure what is wrong with the radar located at Coopers Hill, St Andrew.
“Lightning seems to have been one factor. What we did was to get somebody to come and do a complete diagnostic check and they realised that there seemed to have been some other fault, but they were not able to pinpoint what the other fault is,” says Evan Thompson, head of the weather branch at the Met Service.
As a result, the office has sent a number of parts back to the manufacturer overseas for a complete analysis to be done. The manufacturers have recommended, in the meantime, that the Met Service undertake a systemic upgrade to avoid a repeat of the problems.
“And that is what we have agreed to do,” says Thompson. He is hoping that the problem would be solved by July in time for the active portion of the hurricane season – August and September.
However, if the radar is still out of use beyond July, the Met Service says it has other methods to track and monitor storms, though not quite as efficient. Thompson says the office will be seeking data from Cuba, which has an effective and efficient early-warning system.
“We do have an arrangement where we can benefit from them currently. We have access to the information from their Doppler radar,” says Thompson. The Met Service will also depend, he says, on local observation, from various sections of the region, which is fed to the island and the rest of the Caribbean from a hub in North America.
“Apart from that, we use satellite imagery which is from a number of sources,” Thompson discloses.
The Doppler radar, which was introduced to Jamaica in 1999, had cost the former People’s National Party government approximately $40 million to procure.