Met Service halfway there


Met Service halfway there

Staff reporter

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Director of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Evan Thompson, has disclosed that the agency is currently in possession of only half of the 200 weather stations being targeted.

Speaking at the handing-over ceremony of an automatic weather stations at the Ferris Primary School in Westmoreland last Wednesday, Thompson explained that the gift will improve the Met Service's data collection ability. The weather station at Ferris Primary was one of three received by the meteorological service in Westmoreland.

“We are just about at 100 stations but our target is roughly 200 stations across the island and so we still have a good way to go in order to be able to say we can see coastal areas, we can see low lands, we can see interior areas, we can see all the various permutations and combinations that will constitute what Jamaica is all about,” the head of the Meteorological Service of Jamaica said.

“So it's important for us to have a good look across the country and so we are happy to know that we are here to establish this station...a defining moment as I said, as we move forward with data collection so we can better be able to say what is going to happen.”

Despite the shortfall in the targeted number of stations, Thompson noted that in terms of providing accurate weather forecast, the meteorological service was “doing quite well”.

“We just about 60 per cent or so but worldwide is about 65 (per cent) or something like that so we are doing pretty well. But we are getting there and every bit of information is important because in making a forecast we have to think about the temperature, we have to think about the humidity, we have to think about how the wind is moving, we have to think about how other processes in the air, the dynamic processes are changing and then all these things, all moving parts, changing minute by minute to be considered in making a projection of what is going to happen in the future,” Thompson outlined.

He expressed his appreciation for the three additional weather stations in Westmoreland, which resulted from a partnership with the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation WMC), under the Climate Change Adoption and Risk Management Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project.

The CARTS project is funded by the Caribbean Development Bank's Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF).

CDRRF is a multi-donor fund which is managed by the Caribbean Development Bank which is based in Barbados. Financing for CDRRF is provided by the Government of Canada through Global Affairs Canada and the European Union. CDRRF finances sub-projects that seek to help communities in the Caribbean build their resilience to natural disasters and adapt to climate change.

“We have other stations in nearby vicinities but every additional station makes a significant impact for us. The more you are able to see the better you are able to evaluate and the better you are able to project into the future to know what is likely to happen,” Thompson argued.

Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar, Councillor Bertel Moore, who is also chairman of the WMC, expressed his appreciation to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for funding the CARTS project.

“I know it was quite a bit of money that CBD expended for the projects and as mayor for the town of Savanna-la-Mar I am really pleased to see the corporation being involved to put up the stations,” the mayor said.

The project was implemented by the WMC in collaboration with partners including National Works Agency, Social Development Commission, Jamaica Red Cross, the Fisheries Division, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Water Resources Authority, to improve resilience to climate change and enhance disaster risk reduction capacities within the Savanna-la-Mar business district and three target communities. The initiative, CARTS Project, was launched in November 2018 and it is expected to benefit the 34,783 residents of Savanna-la-Mar, comprising 17,443 females and 17,340 males.

Indi Mclymont Lafayette, knowledge management and public education consultant, Community Disaster Risk Reduction Management Fund, Caribbean Development Bank, noted that Savanna- la-Mar's location on the coast makes it more vulnerable to certain climate impacts such as storm surge, flooding, sea level rise, among other things.

“It was thus seen as important to ensure that the residents can respond quickly and effectively in the event of a disaster,” she explained.

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