Contract awarded for Doppler weather radar

| 26/07/2010

(CNS): Work will soon be underway on a digital Doppler weather radar station in East End following the award of the contract to a specialist German firm. The project, which is being paid for by a European Union (EU) grant of 4.16 million Euros (about CI$4.1 m), will improve the accuracy of early-warnings for hurricanes and other severe weather in the Cayman Islands area. The contract to provide technical assistance for designing, tendering, constructing and commissioning the station was recently signed between the Cayman Islands Airports Authority and Icon Institute following a tendering and selection process based on EU regulations and standards.

Although the money is coming from Europe, the Cayman Islands government will make an in-kind contribution worth approximately 500,000 Euros, which is the crown land for the site. The station will be situation on land which formed part of the Wilderness Farm, the prison’s agricultural facility in East End which was closed in 2008 following a murder committed by a serving inmate at the farm.

The project includes a purpose-built radar housing, as wellas the radar itself and all communication equipment, technical expertise and specialized training to Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) staff and is scheduled to be constructed by late 2011.

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority (CIAA) Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Jackson said, “The appointment of a technical expert for this project means we can now start to make real progress towards completion of the next phase, namely the technical design for the radar and its housing.” Jackson signed the contract on behalf of the CIAA, and Head of Unit Holger Hinterthur signed representing Icon Institute. He was accompanied by Engineer Gunter Schieske, who remains in Cayman to work with local authorities on the project.

The CIAA will implement this new service. However, once operational, the radar station will be managed by the CINWS on behalf of the Cayman Islands Government.

Deputy Premier Juliana O’Connor-Connolly said the service would enhance the level of hurricane preparation. “I applaud all involved, especially the EU, for working to help provide this invaluable facility,” she added.

The weather information gathered will also be shared with other countries in the region. The need for such a service was recognised during recent efforts to encompass the Caribbean region with modern radar, which is critical to tracking weather systems – and because local knowledge is critical to decision-making during storm threats. The EU donated grants for four other regional projects, leading to Doppler radar services being introduced in Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana and Belize last year. However, the northeastern Caribbean region, into which Cayman falls, was not covered by these services, which led the Cabinet Office to ask the EU for technical assistance. CINWS’s Director General Fred Sambula said the project was a long time coming.

“As we are in the hurricane belt, this critical early-warning tool, will improve the quality of weather information offered to emergency managers, other decision makers in government and private sector as well as all residents, for the protection of life and property in these Islands,” the local weather expert explained.

The Doppler Effect is named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who introduced the concept in 1842. It takes measurements of changes in the frequency of waves of motion (including clouds and other measurable objects), thereby indicating direction and speed.

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  1. noname says:

    Finally! This country is one of the most frequently affected countries anywhere in the Western Atlantic, according to a couple of online sources. It is not just a useful tool….it’s an essential tool.

    Ignore the ones that comment about money beign spent, as they simply do not understand what the word GRANT means.

  2. William Verhoeven says:

    Being one of the most hurricane-affected countries in the world, it is about time we got a doppler radar. Not only will this help us prepare for and analyze hurricanes that affect Cayman, it will provide valuable storm data for all the countries in our region to help them prepare and be another important tool for historical analysis of weather.

    I sincerely hope that this radar will be free for the public to access online as doppler radar maps are everywhere else. This information isn’t just important to meteorologists and aviators, it is useful to everyone.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Verhoeven the plan is for the Cayman radar to be merged with radars around the Caribbean to give a mosaic. I would suspect that that the Cayman radar might also be available by itself on the NWS website.

  3. Beachboi says:

    "will improve the accuracy of early-warnings for hurricanes and other severe weather in the Cayman Islands area."   " this critical early-warning tool, will improve the quality of weather information offered to emergency managers, other decision makers"

    It really amazes me because all of this is already accomplished by logging on to which is the Weather Channel site.  I say take the money and invest it in the hospital which is desperately in need of………..well in need of everything!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      I take it that you think this site has a weather radar?

      It does not.

      If you want a reason for a weather radar look no further than Paloma. Paloma came from the southwest of Grand Cayman. This area has little to no data and no radar coverage. A weather radar in the Cayman Islands would have indicated the turn towards the Sister Islands quicker and given us more time.


      In terms of regular forecasting the weather radar gives three dimensional look into clouds and weather systems. this look will assist the forecaster to understand what is going on in the atmosphere. This kind of information is not available in any other form but through radar data.


      By the way if you are thinking radars in Jamaica/Cuba might help they dont. Yes they do see the Cayman Islands on the other edges of the radar sweep but that data is very inaccurate.

    • Rev says:

      I know, I never know why NOAA have hurricane hunter planes and satellites, when they could save all their money and just go to as well for their updates.

      Are you for real? and the money could not be used on a new hospital, do you understand what a grant for a specific purpose is?

      Frankly thee fact that Ivan was thought to hit the Sister islands and hit GC and that Paloma was thought to hi GC and hit the sister islands shows we seriously need all the information we can get

  4. lone pilot says:

     Hopefully, the weather pictures captured will also be available to the aviation community for their flight planning, preferrably through the internet.