Mon | Sep 20, 2021

Weather stations to boost local Met Service

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2021 | 4:11 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer
Bertel Moore, mayor of Savanna-la-Mar.
Bertel Moore, mayor of Savanna-la-Mar.


Evon Thompson, director at the National Meteorological Service, has said the country’s ability to effectively predict weather patterns and conditions have received a major boost with the installation of three automatic weather stations in Westmoreland.

Thompson said the weather stations were made possible through a partnership with the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC), under the Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Management Technology and Strategies to Improve Community Resilience (CARTS) project.

“We have other stations in nearby vicinities, but every additional station makes a significant impact for us,” said Thompson, who was speaking at a ceremony at the Ferris Primary School, also in Westmoreland, where one of the three weather stations is set up.

“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,” added Thompson.

Improving accuracy

According to Thompson, every bit of information as you go along makes a difference to improving accuracy and ensuring the precision with whatever we are projecting.

“So when we see one weather station going up it is a big thing for us,” explained Thompson, while revealing that the installation of these automatic weather stations has contributed to the Meteorological Service’s quest to achieve its projected target of having 200 weather stations across the island.

“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 lowlands, we can see interior areas, or we can see all the various permutations and combinations that will constitute what Jamaica is all about,” the meteorologist said.

Thompson sees the new weather stations in Westmoreland as a defining moment for his organisation as the data it will provide will put the met service in a better position to predict a weather condition.

“So it’s important for us to have a good look across the country, and we are happy to know that we are here to establish this station,” said Thompson.

Thompson further noted that it is important that the station is being established at the primary school, where it is expected to pique the interest of the young students to learn more about climate.

“They (students) are to be learning about climate, they are going to be learning about climate change, they will make an impact in their homes and throughout this community. They will be able to initiate a change right across the country that all of us and our generations are going to be benefiting from,” stated Thompson.

Meanwhile, Savanna-la-Mar’s Mayor Bertel Moore, who also spoke at the ceremony, expressed his appreciation to the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) for funding the weather stations.

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

The CARTS Project was launched in November 2018 and is expected to benefit approximately 34,783 residents of the parish capital of Savanna-la-Mar, comprising 17,443 females and 17,340 males.