Weather radar still down

The National Weather Service radar is still down, more than two weeks after going off line.  

Weather service officials say they expect a technician from German manufacturer Selex Systems Integration to arrive Monday to get the radar running again. 

The managing director of the National Weather Service, John Tibbetts, said a gearbox used to move the Doppler radar failed and he hopes the system will be back online in the next couple days.  

The radar detects rain and how intense the rainfall is in the ubiquitous multicolored rain maps.  

Mr. Tibbetts said the weather service has a local technician, but it opted to bring in someone from Germany for the repairs. “We didn’t want to take a chance on this popping up again,” he said. 

The radar, in East End’s High Rock area, came online in April 2013. A $4.1 million grant from the European Union paid for the construction of the system that feeds into an international Doppler radar network covering the region.  

Cayman’s Doppler system covers areas up to 250 miles from Grand Cayman and abuts systems in Cuba, Jamaica and Mexico. Cayman’s National Weather Service makes the radar images available for free on its website. 

Mr. Tibbetts said the National Weather Service has not been hampered too much without the Doppler. “We operated for a number of years without the radar,” he said, and the service continues to monitor and forecast the weather with or without the radar. 

The Doppler radar in East End is undergoing repairs. – PHOTO: JAMES WHITTAKER