Director of the National Meteorological Service (Met Service), Jeffery Spooner, says the agency is fully prepared to provide timely and accurate weather forecasting during the 2013 hurricane season, which begins June 1.
“We are ready with all the equipment. Our Doppler radar has been repaired and we have procured some of the critical spares. Virtually all of the staff are in place and are trained, prepped and ready to face the up-coming hurricane season,” he stated.
Mr. Spooner was speaking to JIS News just before addressing a Heads of Agencies meeting held on Wednesday (May 15), at the Ministry of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change in Kingston.
He informed that the office is experiencing difficulties with the weather balloon station that monitors the characteristics of the upper atmosphere. The United States-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which manufactures and supplies the station, will be undertaking the repairs, he said.
While the National Hurricane Centre have not yet issued official projections for the 2013 hurricane season, the Colorado State University has projected an above average Atlantic hurricane season with some 18 named storms.
Nine of these are projected to become hurricanes, four of which are expected to be major systems.
Mr. Spooner noted that while Jamaica has been spared the effects of major hurricanes in recent years, things could be different this year.
He said the Caribbean has been mentioned “for the first time in a long time, that it is in line for a hit by a major hurricane”.
Mr. Spooner is encouraging Jamaicans to begin making preparations for the season, and to heed the advice of the Met Office to ensure their safety and the security of their property during the hurricane season.
Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill, commended the Met Service’s proactive approach to the 2013 hurricane season, noting that the country will be well advised in the event of any eventualities.
CONTACT: O. RODGER HUTCHINSON