Experts finally coming to fix long-broken radar

| 29/06/2022 | 42 Comments
Cayman News Service
Kearney Gomez Doppler Weather Radar

(CNS): International experts are expected to arrive in Grand Cayman next month to repair the Cayman Islands National Weather Service’s Doppler radar in East End, which has been out of service for more than eight months. Varying explanations have been given about the repairs in response to CNS inquiries, but a major cause appears to have been difficulty sourcing parts. In addition, the CINWS has said that the radar went offline in October last year due to damage to the dome and generator during Tropical Storm Grace.

The backup generator was repaired in May and work to fix the radar and seal the dome is expected to begin next month, when the representative from the radar manufacturer arrives, according to CINWS Director General John Tibbetts.

“The manufacturing representative will be on-island from approximately mid-July to inspect the radar equipment and the dome before commencing the necessary repairs,” he said. “The international expert is expected to remain on-island until the repairs are complete and the radar is in good working order once again.”

While the Kearney Gomez Doppler Weather Radar is an important asset in the CINWS meteorological toolkit, Tibbetts has consistently said that it is complemented by other services and tools. “The radar helps us monitor meteorological conditions as far as Jamaica and is helpful for providing small-scale predictions. For tracking storms further afield, we use the Cayman Islands Government’s GOES-R satellite system,” he said.

Ministry of Sustainability and Climate Resiliency Acting Chief Officer Troy Jacob said the government was “looking forward” to having the radar system back up and running as soon as possible and ahead of what is typically the busiest part of the Atlantic Hurricane Season.

“Even though repairs to the weather radar have been delayed by supply chain issues, caused largely by reduced production during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of technical expert resources post-pandemic and post-Tropical Storm Grace, the team at our National Weather Service has continued to work to secure the parts and expertise necessary to get this important national asset back up and running,” said Jacob.

He added that the service was still delivering accurate, timely forecasts, advisories and warnings for the country. “We intend to keep the country informed of our progress with the repairs and hope to have another update shortly,” he said.

The radar was funded partially by a European Union grant of about CI$4.5million in 2010 and was completed in 2012, with the CIG chipping in another half a million dollars. At the time, it was touted as a much-needed asset in mitigating the impact of bad weather. It was constructed by the German-based Icon Institute.

There are no imminent storm threats to the Cayman Islands, but with one weather system in the Eastern Caribbean expected to become a storm shortly, another brewing in the Gulf of Mexico and a third rolling toward the Caribbean that may take shape sometime next week, the predictions for a busy season appear to be well-founded.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (42)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn dump!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So why has it taken 10 months for the “Lead Tech in your Office”
    to finally decide they couldn’t fix it.

    Don’t say Covid because we know technical experts came to CUC and the water plants under special guidelines.

  3. Spoken Truth says:

    Hello, did you all hear that CIG is employing experts on complaining about everything they all don’t know about? No experience or knowledge needed except in making nonsensical observations on anything said or printed by CIG. You all here should apply. Never mind, you all got the job already, CNS just needs to pay your salaries instead now…lol. If CINWS did not do a stellar job at putting out accurate weather updates then you all would be up S*@t Creek battling whatever would befall us here during & after a storm hits. Quit the needless complaining, questioning everything that Mr. Tibbetts said & castigating the Civil Servants and just appreciate the fact that despite the situation due to supply chain disruptions, whether it be getting the parts, the material, the manpower or lack transport to get it here, it is getting fixed. I pray all goes well with the repair from beginning to end. Thank you CINWS for the great service you are providing and the professional way you all deliver it to us. Trust me I know the importance of it all and appreciate the CINWS. Just please be sure to get new persons trained now to fill the vacancy of those who are no longer there to maintain the Radar, thanks. God bless our ppl and beloved Cayman Islands!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      No. God Bless America and its National Hurricane Centre that gives us free, timely and continuous access to almost every piece of information we need to anticipate and deal with hurricane threats to our Islands. A local weather service is a nice luxury. Little more.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Whilst we are on the subject of radar at East End why do we not have a surface search radar? We have police boats and coast guard operating blind. Or is there a reason we are not interested in stopping the drugs and gun traffic? All feels a little BVI to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are not operating blind unless they choose to be. We know we equipped their boats with 100nm radar scanners, and FLIR. So is it (a) a question of basic training, like, reading the pdf manuals on where to find the power on/off switches…or (b) is it a deliberate conspiracy of negligence to aid and abet the domestic illicit transhipment economies?

  5. Anonymous says:

    ..”the Kearney Gomez Doppler Weather Radar” ! FFS! – does every bit of infrastructure on the Island have to have someone’s name on it? What next, “the McKeever Bush home for abused women”?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Finally! CIG has allowed Expert(Expat) workers to come and fix what they can’t. I hope they treat them well and don’t kick them out to early so they can get the radar running properly again.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Could someone now “fix” the Glass House”? How many years is it since Kurt said it was going to be demolished? Can we not even make decisions and act on them in a timely manner? It’s embarrassing! Really “world class”!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Accurate timely forecasts?
    Absofugginlootly! (Maybe)

  9. Jus Wonderin says:

    Is it only me who finds it difficult to understand this statement “the radar went offline in October last year due to damage to the dome and generator during Tropical Storm Grace”?
    Grace passed by Grand Cayman on 18 August . The radar went down on 21 October.
    Was it ‘damaged’ for 2 months but still working? Seems odd and if so, it adds 2 months to how long they had to get it repaired.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I recall three Caymanians sent to the manufacturers headquarters in Germany for full training.
    What happened to them?

    • Anonymous says:

      Big difference between maintenance and full scale repair and replacement of key parts. A diagnostic assessment by the manufacturer is required.

    • john says:

      Anon 632 one of those officers retired, one was from Telecomms is no longer involved and the last is the lead tech for our office.

    • Anonymous says:

      They all got raises.

    • Schweinhund says:

      6.32pm They came back speaking fluent German and now work for Burger King servicing their kitchen equipment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Manufacturers typically do not give all of their trade secrets to operators of systems and reserve it for themselves so they can continue to charge for support.

  11. watcher says:

    ““Even though repairs to the weather radar have been delayed by supply chain issues, caused largely by reduced production during the COVID-19 pandemic….”

    Baloney. We are expected to believe that radar parts were in such high demand during the pandemic that we couldn’t acquire them? What a crock. They couldn’t be sent here because we didn’t get any airplanes nor supply barges during the entire time. Right? RIGHT?

    Mr. Tibbetts is becoming proficient in creative excuses.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Me. Tibbett’s wishes us to believe the Cayman Islands has a Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite system? The one that was launched in November 2016? I do not recall that budget item.

    Perhaps he misspoke or was misquoted. I call bullshit. I think what he meant to say is that his team goes on the National Hurricane Center website to find out what is going on, just like the rest of us (the difference is we access it for free while our government costs us millions to do the same thing).

  13. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps once fixed money could be spent training and employing people on-island so that these facilities can be generally monitored and maintained locally to minimise lost use, plus dependency and expense of external consultants.

  14. Wirst class says:

    This reminds me of these foreign aid projects in Africa where large sums are spent installing water pumps to access water from the underground water lens. They work for several years but then break down due to lack of maintenance expertise. A similar situation exists here with the airport car parking system except it is not aid funded but paid for by the taxpayer.

  15. Anonymous says:

    COVID will be the excuse for incompetence in the Civil Service, well after the world has moved on and forgotten about the virus.

    • Anonymous says:

      Your comment is BS!

      I’m in the USA and have many, many business and household repairs hindered/delayed by supply-chain issues. Quit complaining about issues you will not acknowledge. Civil Service may be delinquent, but don’t make COVID a stupid excuse for your crap agenda.

  16. Anonymous says:

    It is not only the radar that needs to be fixed the web site is in need of repair also. Information is hard to come by.

  17. Anonymous says:

    “For tracking storms further afield, we use the Cayman Islands Government’s GOES-R satellite system,” he said.”

    It’s a US Govt NOAA system…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Accurate timely forecasts?

  19. Anonymous says:

    CNS did you inquire as to the contingency plan to ensure the future reliability and up-time of this radar system, including backup power once is has been repaired? I’m guessing they’re going to be winging it again.


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