Work to begin on new CI$6M weather centre

| 24/10/2023 | 33 Comments
CINWS Operations and Research Centre groundbreaking

(CNS): More than three years after the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) received planning permission to construct a multi-million-dollar weather facility off Crewe Road on land by the RCIPS traffic unit, government officials broke ground last week. The contract for the purpose-built centre, worth just over CI$6 million, was secured by Build Cayman Limited and is expected to be finished in 2024.

Premier Wayne Panton said the new research centre was part of the government’s future-proofing plans to increase resiliency for this growing, critical service.

“Our weather service is the most advanced of the meteorological agencies in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories in the Caribbean,” he said. “As the team has grown, so have the services they provide and their needs in terms of equipment and facilities. The new headquarters will ensure our dedicated weather service staff have the working conditions and equipment they need to continue to provide timely, accurate forecasts, advisories and warnings for the country.”

The new building will include facilities for 24-hour operations, essential for providing accurate meteorological observations that support safe air travel and during severe weather events.

“The facilities will also feature sustainability measures, including environmentally-friendly building materials, energy and water efficient design elements, with opportunities to utilise renewable energy and rainwater harvesting,” the premier added.

The RCIPS traffic building on the site is set to be demolished to make way for this state-of-the-art modern centre. CINWS Director General John Tibbetts has been preparing for this facility for several years as finding the right location was not easy. He said that having a purpose-built, solar-ready facility that can enable 24-hour staffing and services is essential to enhance service delivery for all three Cayman Islands.

“Having a facility that is better designed for our observational processes and having all of our weather service staff under one roof is going to improve our efficiency, allow for better collection of data and reduce response times for accurate weather forecasting,” he said. “The new facility will also allow us to implement a 24-hour monitoring and forecasting programme to support aviation, disaster response and other government agencies. We are very pleased that government is making the new Operations and Research Centre a priority.”

The site for the new facilities on Lyndhurst Avenue, across from the airport, provides easy access to key emergency and aviation services. It is ideal conditions for air balloon releases and has enough space to house essential monitoring and observation equipment. The site is already home to an Automatic Weather Observation Station (AWOS), which records and transmits data — wind direction, wind speed, temperature, humidity, air quality and rainfall — in real time to the CINWS team. This is one of a planned series of AWOS across all three islands.

“The site offers a clear view of the airport runway and the horizon from all four coordinates, which is important so we can provide the Cayman Islands Airports Authority with accurate meteorological observations that support safe air travel,” Tibbetts explained.

The facility will allow senior staff to better support significant regional roles, including Chief Meteorologist Kerry Powery who serves as the chairperson of the Regional Association Infrastructure Committee, as well as Tibbetts and Manager of Research and Media Services Shamal Clarke who serve as members of the World Meteorological Organization Expert Task Team dealing with Multi-Hazard Early Warning Systems, and focal points for critical meteorological functions.

The Public Works Department is managing the construction project.

On the day of the groundbreaking, Tourism Minister Kenneth Bryan and Infrastructure Minister Jay Ebanks joined Panton, Tibbetts and other government officials for the golden shovels photo opportunity.

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Category: Science & Nature, Weather

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Why do we need ANY local weather bureau or whatever it is here? They don’t do anything original, it all comes from the massively well funded and well staffed meteorological services abroad, particularly in Florida. It’s just jobs for locals who can read reports from NOAA.

  2. Truth says:

    Like the weather radar this facility will need trained, experienced people to run it and keep it running smoothly. Like the weather radar Cayman Islands must put their undereducated and third world cultured voters to work so Radar images are not available at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience. Cayman Islands. First world infrastructure being run by third world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Current radar is down again, why we keep wasting money? Who are we developing these islands for?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Remember this when the government tells you it has no money left and there is a deficit :)) the only thing you really need here is NOAA

  5. Anonymous says:

    Where are the 6-8 foot swells that Cayman Weather Service been promising all since Monday?

  6. Anonymous says:

    what is the occupancy rate at goab????

  7. Anonymous says:

    Anywhere else in the world 2.0 million.

    Cayman 6.0 million.


    No way it can cost 6.0 million to build a weather station!

  8. Anonymous says:

    We apparently need a better weather station to inform folks like those in the picture that you dont need to wear a jacket outdoors in the middle of the day in 86 degree heat and humidity.

    Hope this will help them.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why not build it out next to the radar itself near Shetty? Relieve some traffic congestion as well. Instead, lots of driving to meetings between the radar facility and this office space.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You’re welcome.

    That’ll be $1.5 million please.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Another waste of money and a great way to extract public funds to friends and family.

    Who owns the winning company I wonder?

  12. Anonymous says:

    More piles of rock. Cayman doesn’t know anything else.

  13. Anonymous says:

    What they need most is a radar technician. Cheaper too.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hope Wayne can find a couple of dollars to get a reliable RADAR.
    Looks like every time it rains,radar is out for weeks.
    Have they ever heard Maintenance on an ongoing basis?
    What about being “sunny” at night in a lot of forecasts, anyone read before posting?

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask Julianna. She procured the current radar with Kearney Gomez, then named it (fittingly) after him

  15. Anonymous says:

    fix the radar.
    fix the dump.
    free the weed.
    ban the leaf blowers.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Fix the damn radar it’s broken (Again)🤮🤮🤮

  17. Anonymous says:

    C’mon Wayne, who you kidding? “Our weather service is the most advanced of the meteorological agencies in the United Kingdom Overseas Territories in the Caribbean,”
    But our weather radar can’t handle a bit of rain and lightning.
    Fix the damn weather radar first Wayne!

    • Anonymous says:

      is it detecting rain and lightning?
      thats what it for.

      • Anonymous says:

        Step outside. If your head gets wet, it is raining. If you see bright flashes and hear loud bangs in the sky, there is lightning.

        There. Just saved us $6 million.

        Where do I get my Franzie?

  18. Anonymous says:

    Who, pray tell, owns Build Cayman Limited?

    On the surface of this, it seems like a good thing; we could use a local radar that actually functions. If some insiders’ was awarded this I’m not happy about it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Shhhh. It’s a secret. Kickbacks are likely to be given.

      Let’s audit the bid process and see if it is a legitimate contract or a political payback.

      In the meantime, please print the ownership details of the winning bidder.

  19. Anonymous says:

    pointless waste of money. how are those budget cuts coming along wayne?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Build Cayman Ltd.?? An outfit with a static single page website and a listed contact as a mobile phone number? No stated experience building ANYTHING beyond residential housing? Is this a suitable choice for our state-of-the-art weather station housing the regions most sophisticated weather tracking systems? Asking for a friend … (SMH)

    • Anonymous says:

      Wayne’s and or John’s school buddy got this? Weather (spelled wrong deliberately) or not this gets done properly we’re in for more outages as the technology gets piled on and no one to support it.
      Equivalent to buying a Ferrari and taking it to dump road joe mechanic to maintain it😵‍💫

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hilarious, just sign up for the Clime NOAA app and pay the $39 subscription. Most accurate weather reporting I have ever experienced.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Ummm – couldn’t they just Google if they wanted to know the weather?

    If they needed an office in a hurricane safe building to do it, why not use one of the many vacant spaces in the Government administration building?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Oh good, looking forward to the radar being more reliable 👍


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