Director of the Meteorological Department Trevor Basden said the country can expect more accurate weather forecasts, after the government yesterday signed a $20 million contract to acquire four new state-of-the-art Doppler radars.
The new devices are being provided by Vaisala, a Finland-based company.
Mr. Basden said the signing of the contract was an historic day not only for The Bahamas, but for the Department of Meteorology.
“You can be expecting more accurate weather forecasts, more detailed information on exactly where rain is falling. These are new technology, cutting edge at the fore front of the world. So water spouts, tornado activity, every meteorological hazard, the Department of Meteorology would now be in a position to forecast and also to what we call now cast, to give information, up to five minutes or less,” Mr. Basden said.
Mr. Basden thanked the government for what he said is “such a huge investment”.
“Now we technically have no excuse to be more accurate with our forecasts and also the tracking of weather patterns,” he said.
“We can now cover the entire Bahamas and some parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands and some parts of Cuba,” he added.
Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin reiterated the significance of the new equipment, noting that the radars are very crucial during hurricane periods.
She alluded to the fact that during monster storm Joaquin, last year, there was only one such device, which resulted in a breakdown of communication and in the grand scheme of things, more devastation for especially the southeastern islands.
In light of this, Mrs. Hanna Martin reiterated that the new devices will cover a broader network which will include all islands of The Bahamas.
“This technological injection provides the meteorology department with a capacity to be able to analyse and forewarn and advise our people in the event of weather systems that could prejudice the well being of our people,” said Mrs. Hanna Martin.
“This is a thrust to raise this department to where it must be in the scheme of our national life,” she said.
“No island will be out of the range of a radar, and because we’ve only had one, that has been the case every single time. But we are an archipelago and this is a recognition of that, and that this sort of protection must be throughout the length and breadth of The Bahamas,” she said.
Meantime, Vaisala’s Regional Director Aleksis Kajava explained that the execution of the contract will take approximately two years, with each radar having a five year warranty.
Meanwhile, the first radar will be installed in the capital by February next year, while the other three will be installed in Abaco, Long Island, and Mayaguana respectively.