ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Antigua & Barbuda has been identified as a site for a pilot project, which is expected to enhance forecasting abilities of the country’s meteorological services as well as inform disaster management decisions.
Director of the National Office of Disaster Services Philmore Mullin said the project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) through CARICOM and the Italian government to set up a web-based platform that would allow meteorologists to better monitor unusual weather systems. Predictions could be done four days in advance.
“The system (called the Caribbean DEWETRA Platform) allows The Met Office to monitor atmospheric conditions,” Mullin explained.
“For example, in terms of rainfall, they’ll be better able to calculate what’s happening in the atmosphere in relation to what’s happening on the ground …”
He added, “If you’ll have flooding you’d be better able to have a sense of speed of the water, the depth and the flow so it would enhance the types of decisions that are made. Rather than making a general decision for flooding in a particular geographical space, you’ll be better able to give more specific guidelines to those who would be in the impact area.”
Mullin noted the country has already completed phase one, which was the training and introduction of the system. Further training and installation of equipment would be taking place over the next couple of months.
Antigua & Barbuda would be the back-up site to Barbados, which means if the system in Barbados fails, the one in Antigua would be picking up the slack.
Provided that the project is successful in Antigua it would be replicated in all the other CIMH member countries, Mullin said.
The decision to establish the IT system for natural disaster in Antigua & Barbuda was one presented at the 6th Caribbean Conference on Comprehensive Disaster Management in Trinidad.
The December 5-9 event highlighted the need for greater focus to be placed on comprehensive disaster management, public awareness and education throughout the region.
Antigua & Barbuda was represented by Mullin, Dale Destin of The Meteorological Office and Frederick Southwell of the Development Control Authority (DCA).