No warnings given about weather system – NEMO
January 3, 2014
No warnings given about weather system – NEMO

The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) did not receive a warning about last week’s weather system which caused millions of dollars in damage and the deaths of at least nine persons here.{{more}}

Michelle Forbes, deputy director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO) said that the report issued by the Meterological Office at the E.T. Joshua Airport at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, December 24, was only a regular report which advised that there would be thunderstorms.

The Met Office, however, issued a special bulletin late that night, after the airport had started to flood, Forbes told SEARCHLIGHT.

The NEMO official further stated that neither were warnings of the weather system issued in neighbouring St Lucia or Dominica, as some members of the public are saying.

“I know that St Lucia and Dominica did not get warnings – I know that for a fact,” she said.

Forbes explained that she had been in contact with the disaster coordinators of both countries and the complaints have been the same.

“They (in St Lucia) are actually asking for the disaster coordinator to be fired,” she said.

Forbes, however, explained that it was not typical to give warnings about trough systems, because they are not a named system.

However, the regular report did indicate that there was going to be some gusty winds and thunder- storms.

“Apart from that, there was no other information given,” the deputy director said.

According to Forbes, there was no other information provided until after the flooding had started at the airport.

“Then, we got a special bulletin,” she said.

The deputy director explained that whenever there is going to be adverse weather, the meteorological office at the E.T. Joshua airport usually gives NEMO an alert, even before this information is released to the general public.

“So, once there is anything out of the ordinary, they will contact us, but on the said day there was nothing,” she said.

Forbes explained that trough systems are unpredictable, sometimes they are accompanied by rain, and other times, not.

“This one was unusual,” she said.

The deputy director explained that the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology, with support of the Italian government, has been working on a hydrological forecasting model, which is an estimation of future states of hydrological phenomena and are essential for the efficient operation of water infrastructure and the mitigation of natural disasters such as floods and droughts.

“And it didn’t show us much,” she said.(DD)