By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Department of Meteorology’s Doppler radar, which “came off its gears” during the passage of Hurricane Matthew on Thursday, has still not been repaired according to Director Trevor Basden.
Mr Basden said if any others systems develop, meteorology officials would have to use “other meteorological tools” in order to “ascertain the weather”.
He made his comments on Sunday at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) headquarters on Gladstone Road.
Mr Basden also said the “good news” is that Matthew, which was originally predicted to make a loop and come back to The Bahamas, no longer poses a threat to the country.
“Hurricane Matthew is moving away from The Bahamas. The present models indicate it is not expected to return to The Bahamas as previously thought, so we praise God for that,” Mr Basden said.
“Even closer to us is Tropical Storm Nicole. However, Nicole is also forecast to move in a northerly direction towards Bermuda, strengthen into a hurricane and then away from Bermuda. So that is the good news.”
Mr Basden also said the Forecast Office sustained damage during the hurricane and staff had to be relocated to the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for safety reasons.
“Unfortunately for the Met Office, my office there at the LPIA was badly damaged. The meteorologists are working in difficult conditions. I applaud them for that but we will make every effort to move them to a new location that is under renovation that we were waiting to move in before Matthew,” Mr Basden said.
“Another sore point: the Doppler weather radar is still down and we are attending to that so any weather systems that might be developing we would have to use other meteorological tools in other to ascertain the weather.”
The Department of Meteorology came under fire during the passage of Hurricane Joaquin last year, when it was revealed that the Doppler radar was allegedly not functioning for several hours during the storm’s passage.
The government repeatedly refuted the claims. Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin at the time called the claims “erroneous”.
Mrs Hanna Martin, who has the Meteorology Department in her portfolio, insisted last year that the issues with the accuracy of the category four storm’s track had to do with the erratic nature of Joaquin and not with forecast equipment in the Bahamas.
She maintained last October that the Doppler radar was operating throughout the storm, despite notations in the Meteorology Department’s log book on October 2 which read: “Major storm Joaquin is over the Bahamas and the Doppler radar is not working. The Met Lab is not working, no hurricane supplies, no bus, when will we get it right in the Bahamas?”
The radar provides details on rainfall intensity, thunderstorms, and tornadic activity including waterspouts effectively within a 150-mile range, Mrs Hanna Martin said.
Therefore, she said, the radar is best used by officials as a supplemental tool to satellite imagery, the lightning detection network and computer modeling from a variety of official international sources.