National Weather Service launch today

The
Ministry of District Administration, Works and Gender Affairs will launch the
Cayman Islands National Weather Service and celebrate National Weather Service
Day today, (Tuesday, 1 June).

Open
to the public, the launch event will be held on the lawn of the Government
Administration Building, from 9am and 4pm. The official opening ceremony will
start at noon. As well as displays and presentations by several government
departments local, hardware stores and other merchants specialising in
hurricane supplies and services will attend. Traditional Caymanian food will
also be on sale.

The
Cayman Islands National Weather Service will combine the staff and equipment
from the Meteorological Office with added administrative support from the
Ministry.

The
Minister of District Administration Works and Gender Affairs, Juliana
O’Connor-Connolly, said that the new service was consistent with the increasingly
important role that weather and forecasts now play in national development.

“The
former weather observation operations were developed primarily as aviation
tools, but over the years this role has expanded into hurricane warnings, and
providing data for tourism, education, marine interests and other sectors.

“Both
Grand Cayman and the Sister Islands have experienced major hurricanes, so we
know the importance of having up-to-the minute forecasts as part of our early
warning mechanism,” she said.

Mrs.
O’Connor-Connolly further advised that having a more a streamlined weather service
would be complemented by the new weather radar, which will be constructed in
East End by the end of the year.

Ministry
Chief Officer Kearney Gomez said that residents needed to take notice of the
forecasts of a very active 2010 hurricane season. “We really need to hammer
this home,” said Mr. Gomez.  “We can’t be
complacent; we have to get prepared.”

Director
General of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, Fred Sambula said that
operations would remain at the current location in the General Aviation
Terminal at Owen Roberts International Airport.

“With
the addition of the new weather radar… our role… at the national level will
be further enhanced, as will be our regional and international contribution and
involvement,” Mr. Sambula explained.

For
further information, contact John Tibbetts of the Cayman Islands National
Weather Service, at 925-8548 or the Ministry of District Administration, Works
and Gender Affairs, at 244-2412