Flooding on West Bay Street yesterday leaves one car very much the worse for wear after it is almost submerged as waters rose following torrential rainfall. The scene pictured is near the Sun Fun resort, and the airport road was reported to be almost impassable.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
AS a weather system brought heavy rain and flooding to New Providence yesterday, a senior weather official said the Department of Meteorology’s radar was not working, meaning there was no way to tell how bad the flooding was or which areas received the worst of the rainfall.
Senior Meteorological Officer Greg Thompson also told The Tribune that despite the significant damage sustained at the Department’s Forecast Office during the hurricane, forecasters were still forced to work in the building despite a portion of the roof having collapsed, severe flooding and several windows being broken.
Earlier this month, Department of Meteorology Director Trevor Basden admitted that the Doppler radar “came off its gears” during the passage of Hurricane Matthew.
However, Mr Basden at the time said if any other systems developed, meteorology officials would have to use “other meteorological tools” in order to “ascertain the weather”.
Mr Basden also said the staff would be relocated to the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) for safety reasons, but Mr Thompson said that has not happened yet.
“Currently there is nothing painted on the radar, it is not working, we cannot see anything,” Mr Thompson said yesterday.
“So we cannot determine where the rainfall is, we cannot see that on the radar, we are using Miami’s radar but that only reaches so far. No echoes on the radar. I do not know if the technicians have been made aware, but as it stands the radar is not working. We have significant flooding.
“This place (the Forecast Office) is unfit for staff members to be performing their duties in now, it’s an occupational hazard. The story for the last umpteen years is that we are going to be moving and it hasn’t happened yet. The directorate, in my humble opinion, is responsible for this, they have not made the case or been aggressive enough to get us out of this building.”
In reference to the heavy showers in New Providence yesterday, Mr Thompson said the weather disturbance is being caused by a surface trough interacting with an upper level low as well as a disturbance extending from one of the outer bands of Hurricane Nicole.
There were reports that the system left three to four inches of water in low-lying areas of New Providence yesterday.
Mr Thompson said the heavy showers are expected to last through Wednesday and the “bull’s eye” of the storm is right over New Providence, North Andros and Cat Island.
“Environmental conditions are currently unfavourable for any significant development to occur but they could become more conducive by Tuesday or Wednesday as the system drifts to the east,” Mr Thompson said.
“Regardless of development, heavy rain will be possible over the Bahamas during the next couple days. This is going to be here until Tuesday the earliest, Thursday the latest. There will be significant flooding in low-lying areas because of the continuous rainfall and since we just went through Matthew this will only cause more problems.”
Last week, Transport and Aviation Minister Glenys Hanna Martin said that a phased acquisition of new “state-of-the-art” radars will not start until next year.
Mrs Hanna Martin explained that her ministry was in talks with the Ministry of Finance over the major expenditure, adding that the matter has been prioritised given the critical nature of weather services.
The cost of the new radars is just under $20m, she said.
The Doppler radar provides details on rainfall intensity, thunderstorms, and tornadic activity including waterspouts effectively within a 150-mile range.