Government weather radar down

Forecasters must rely on satellite imagery until radar repaired

The Cayman Islands National Weather Service Doppler radar system has been inoperable since Saturday evening, coming off line at the tail end of a week of rains that caused flooding across Grand Cayman.  

Weather Service officials said they hoped to fix a mechanical problem Tuesday and get the weather radar working again. 

National Weather Service Director General John Tibbetts said a motor failed on the radar. The system provides live images of storms up to 250 miles out from Grand Cayman, helping forecasters and residents stay up to date on rain moving through the region. 

“We’re hoping it’s not too big of a deal,” Mr. Tibbetts said. 

As of press time Tuesday the radar was still down. 

Forecaster Avalon Porter said Cayman is not entirely without weather radar coverage. The radar on Grand Cayman is part of an international system and the weather systems on Cuba cover the Cayman Islands.  

Mr. Porter did say forecasting is more difficult without the radar. Cayman’s radar, he said, “fills a void in the northwest Caribbean. The Grand Cayman radar picks up where Cuba leaves off to cover the territory south and west toward Mexico and Central America.” 

The radar here, Mr. Porter said, is part of an international mosaic system to track weather around the globe. 

Without radar, he said, the National Weather Service has to rely more on satellite imagery, giving a view from above of cloud system.  

The radar system cuts through those clouds to show the familiar color-coded rain maps. 

Rain slows, for now 

Mr. Porter said the clouds will stick around this week with fewer showers. This weekend the rain could pick up again, he said. 

He said the clouds and infrequent rain showers are coming from a weather system over the Yucatan. 

Rains last week battered Grand Cayman with several inches of rain a day for days in a row, accumulating more than 15 and a half inches over four days.  

The frequent showers flooded streets and homes. Many roads and yards are still flooded with standing water.