Hoping to strengthen the country’s weather tracking services, Department of Meteorology Director Trevor Basden said the government is planning to purchase at least three additional “state of the art” Doppler weather radars for approximately $18 million with one to be placed in Abaco.
Mr. Basden said he, along with Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin and Permanent Secretary Lorraine Symonette-Armbrister, have identified Abaco, Long Island and Exuma as sites for the new radars. The radar situated at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) in New Providence will be “upgraded” he said.
The announcement came during a meeting with National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), where they gave a comprehensive review of Hurricane Joaquin. This comes just months after concerns were raised over whether the Department of Meteorology’s Doppler radar system worked during the category four storm which devastated the central and southeast Family Islands.
American weather expert Bob Dreisewerd in a news article advised that the country needed at least two more radars to effectively provide warning coverage for the entire Bahamas.
Mr. Dreisewerd, a meteorologist for 25 years and the chief development officer for Baron, a weather intelligence firm, said that it is wise, though not necessary, for institutions to continually upgrade their radar technology.
The Bahamas’ current radar at the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) was obtained in 2005. Doppler radars can determine rainfall intensity and wind motion and with newer technology measure density within rainfall.
Radars are meant to assist meteorologists in making long-term analysis of weather systems, working along with satellite imagery and numerical weather prediction models.
Typical radar systems can provide details on rainfall intensity, thunderstorms, and tornadic activity, including waterspouts, effectively within a 150-mile range.
It was not said when the new radars would be ready for service.