Grand Cayman’s Doppler weather radar is currently not operating due to the failure of an operating part.
Cayman Islands National Weather Service Director General John Tibbetts said the part was ordered and he was hopeful the radar, which went down late last week, would be back up “any day now,” but he was not sure how long it would take for the part to arrive.
“We’ve been told the part has been shipped, but we’re not sure what that means,” he said.
The part is coming from the manufacturer in Germany – Selex Systems Integration GmbH. Mr. Tibbetts said that some replacement parts are kept on hand, but the part needed now was not one that would normally fail.
Doppler radars detect the intensity of rainfall as well as the motion of the raindrops, which allows for wind speed calculations. Doppler is an effective weather forecasting tool and is particularly useful in forecasting the intensity of hurricanes and other severe weather. Most modern weather radars are Doppler systems.
Cayman’s Doppler radar, which is in the High Rock area of East End, was completed in April 2013. The European Union gave a grant worth about $4.1 million for its construction. It serves the wider region and helped eliminate the large Doppler radar coverage gap that previously existed in the Western Caribbean Sea.
Several months after it was installed, the images created by the Doppler radar system were made available to the public on the National Weather Service’s website. Viewers can see the presence of rain and its intensity in a radius of 250 miles from Grand Cayman.