Acting Director at the Department of Disaster Management (DDM) Mr. Jasen Penn has said that the Virgin Islands network of weather monitoring instrumentation supports preparedness in the short and long term, as the Territory observes World Meteorological Day.
Mr. Penn said the department manages 24 weather monitoring stations around the Territory, including on Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Peter Island, which gather data around the clock. He said the department and its partners can track trends in wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation and barometric pressure.
“This detailed data helps the Virgin Islands and the rest of the region have a better understanding of larger climate patterns, and helps us plan for the challenges that weather can sometimes bring,” Mr. Penn said.
The Acting Director said globally, such trends can be troubling, such as last year’s World Meteorological Organisation report, which found that from 1970 and 2019, the number of disasters linked to weather, climate and water-related hazards increased five-fold. He added that such reports also give reason for hope.
“What they observed is that over that same period, the number of casualties fell dramatically, which is due to improvements in forecasting and early warning technology as well as more robust, better coordinated emergency planning,” he said.
The most advanced weather stations, such as the WeatherStem unit the department is operating in the Road Town area, livestream images as well as real-time weather data.
“Weather monitoring equipment is continuously improving, and we are doing our utmost to bring the latest capabilities to the BVI,” Mr. Penn said. He added, “We know the public has an appetite for everyday weather information, but this real-time tracking can also help us identify when weather threats are impacting a specific area.”
Residents can view detailed current forecasts as well as key data for the last 24 hours online at https://bvi.weatherstem.com/tortola.
World Meteorological Day was founded in 1961 and celebrates the global partnership of professional weather forecasters known as the World Meteorological Association, and encourages individuals to consider their part in reducing the risks of extreme climate events.