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(PRESS RELEASE) — In a sustained drive to strengthen the local hydrometeorological system in Saint Lucia, staff of the Meteorological Services continue to benefit from the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP) locally, and through regional training at the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), Barbados.
The knowledge and skills acquired will enhance their capabilities to better forecast weather trends and ultimately better inform the citizens of Saint Lucia of severe weather events like floods and hurricanes. The ultimate goal is to significantly improve preparedness for such events.
The first batch of staff who were trained at the Caribbean Institute of Metrology and Hydrology (CIMH) in Barbados—Odelia Francis and Eleza Samuel—returned to their posts in 2016, after participating in an entry-level course. The course exposed them to aspects of operational hydrology, including collection, transmission, processing, storage, retrieval and publication of basic hydrological data.
In July 2019, another three technicians graduated from the CIMH beefing up the human resource capacity of the Met Services. The technicians – Shemma Joseph, Lemuel Oshaunessey and Cynthia Camille – participated in an eighteen-month course of study leading to a Diploma in Hydrology.
Having completed the Diploma in Hydrology, they are now better able to perform basic precipitation and rainfall frequency analyses, estimate the return period associated with precipitation events, describe hydrologic simulations, calibrate and use simple rainfall-runoff models, supervise hydrological observers and hydrological technicians, assist hydrologists in operations and research and collaborate with agencies in practical aspects of surface and groundwater utilization.
Noting the loss of lives during the passage of Hurricane Tomas and the Christmas Eve Trough as well as the recent unprecedented level of damage from Category 5 hurricanes in the region, Director of the Met. Services, Andre Joyeux, believes that any investment in strengthening the country’s hydromet system, either through enhancing the human resource capacity or upgrading diagnostic tools needed to forecast thunderstorms, flash floods, and tropical storms, will translate to savings for all sectors and potentially minimize the loss of lives.
Plans are afoot for three additional staff to commence training in 2020.