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Lighting Detection System Up

Inside the CI National Weather Service headquarters, UK Met Office Engineer Bernie Ryley checks the computer link to UK Met headquarters.

A long-range lightning detection system funded by the UK now links the Cayman Islands National Weather Service (CINWS) with the UK's detection grid.

The system, now being tested, is capable of detecting lightning generated anywhere in the Caribbean.

"We are pleased to have the system up and running," CINWS Director General Fred Sambula said. "Once fully commissioned, we should be able to see where lightning is more intense in the immediate vicinity as well as the whole Caribbean region. This will boost safety in airport and aircraft operations."

He added the system improves weather forecasting by providing data on lightning frequency and intensity in all weather conditions.

Minister of District Administration, Works, Land and Agriculture, the Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly, JP, said, "We are grateful to the UK Met Office for supplying and setting up this system that will improve our weather forecasting and early warning capabilities."

UK Met Office Engineer Bernie Ryley led the installation of the antenna on the CINWS grounds on Owen Roberts Drive and of the sophisticated computer unit inside that is linked to the UK Met's headquarters in Exeter, England.

The system locates lightning by radio waves generated by individual lightning strokes, Mr. Ryley explained. He acknowledged help especially from Kenneth Maxwell of the Cayman Islands Airport Authority "in setting up the complex electronics unit."

"We are delighted that the UK Met office could help with enhancing weather forecasting as well as airport and aircraft safety management systems in Cayman," Head of the Governor's Office, Mr. Steve Moore said. "The Cayman Islands is now geared up to be part of a global lightning detection network."


For further information contact: Bina Mani