Department of Disaster Management touts weather stations

The content originally appeared on: The BVI Beacon

The Virgin Islands’ network of 24 weather monitoring stations helps support preparedness in the short and long term, Department of Disaster Management acting Director Jasen Penn said last week as the territory observed World Meteorological Day on March 23.

The department’s stations on Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke and Peter Island gather data around the clock, tracking trends in wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation and barometric pressure, according to Mr. Penn.

“This detailed data helps the Virgin Islands and the rest of the region have a better understanding of larger climate patterns, and helps us plan for the challenges that weather can sometimes bring,” he said.

Globally, he added, such trends can be troubling. Last year’s World Meteorological Organisation report, for in- stance, found that from 1970 and 2019 the number of disasters linked to weather, climate and water-related hazards increased five-fold. But such reports also included good news, Mr. Penn said.

“What they observed is that over that same period, the number of casualties fell dramatically, which is due to improvements in forecasting and early warning technology as well as more robust, better coordinated emergency planning,” he said.

The department’s most advanced weather stations, such as the WeatherStem unit operating in the Road Town area, livestream images as well as real-time weather data.

“Weather monitoring equipment is continuously improving, and we are doing our utmost to bring the latest capabilities to the BVI,” Mr. Penn said, adding, “We know the public has an appetite for everyday weather information, but this real-time tracking can also help us identify when weather threats are impacting a specific area.”

Detailed forecasts and data for the last 24 hours can be viewed online at https://bvi.weatherstem.com/tortola.