With the hurricane season around the corner, Barbadians will soon be in a better position to prepare for impending weather systems.
That’s because the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) is upgrading to Impact-based Forecasting (IBF), which will allow for the dissemination of real time data.
Acting Director of the BMS Sabu Best, made the announcement this morning during a press meeting via Zoom where the features of IBF were explained.
He said the switch to IBF meant information on wind and rain associated with any weather system would now be separated and presented separately.
Best explained that the use of IBF would be supplemented with a new website, which would provide real time data, allowing persons to properly prepare themselves for any potential threats.
Best said the Met Office was working to have it fully functional by June 1, which coincides with the beginning of the 2020 hurricane season.
“Right now in Barbados we just give you a weather forecast which is just talking about hazards. If a storm is approaching us we say that a storm is coming from x position and we can expect this amount of rain and there is a flood warning and residents in low lying areas should be advised of flooding.
“That forecast more or less speaks about the hazard with very little impact information and therefore it leaves the public, stakeholders and even the media longing for more information with respect to what more impacts we can expect from the system…” Best said.
“IBF is basically what it is to expect and what you should do… By having a very clear understanding of what to expect and what to do then our response to any emergency effectively improves.
“The public’s response improves, our ability to recover improves because we are better prepared because we understand the impacts that are pending, the responses that we should take before the impact and during the impact and even perhaps after the impact.”
However, while Best said IBF would improve the accuracy of forecasting in some aspects he admitted he could not accurately predict the movements of weather systems.
He said systems were unpredictable and dynamic.
“How it would improve in accuracy is in terms of helping you to geo-locate the areas to be affected… and also when we issue a forecast, be it fair, be it a watch, be it a warning, it is coming with a likelihood percentage so the public can see what is the possibility of it occurring.
“However, let’s look at Dorian that passed last year just to the south of Barbados. We had wind long before the centre and when the centre passed south that is when you would expect more wind but we hardly got any wind, but it was a storm and so IBF is not going to help you or help us to write accurate forecasts in terms of whether there will be a direct hit,” Best noted.
“But what it helps us to do, is that as the situation unfolds we will be updating the forecast so that all users can see what to expect.” [email protected]
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