Barbados Meteorological Director: Stupid taxpayers don’t need to see Doppler weather radar online

(click for large view)

Another government official tells Bajans they have no right to see what they pay for.

During a recent interview with Barbados Today, the acting director of the Barbados Meteorological Department politely told Bajan taxpayers to stick it where the sun doan shine.

Bajans have been “continually calling” for the Doppler radar of the Barbados Meteorological Department to be accessible via the internet, but according to Mr. Hampden Lovell, the information that Barbados taxpayers are presently able to see online from Martinique radar is the same as they would see from Barbados anyway.

And (says Lovell) without proper training, why… we stupid ordinary folks might misinterpret the data that we see! So, we have to be trained before he could possibly think about letting us actually see the radar information that we pay for.

“Mr. Lovell says Barbados taxpayers can get all the information they need from Martinique weather radar? No problem! Fire Lovell’s ass and his staff – who seem to have forgotten that they work for us, not the other way around.”

…Barbados Free Press co-editor Cliverton after a goodly tot of Mount Gay’s finest.

It’s all sooooooo complex, you see!

Too complex for Bajans anyway. Martinique and other governments put their weather radar information online, but their people are so much more intelligent than Bajans ever could be, so they are allowed to see the data without training.

Seriously though: Mr. Lovell makes it so clear in the Barbados Today interview that he and his department are in no hurry to comply with the continued calls for Barbados Doppler weather radar to be placed online. No schedule. No deadline. No target date.  It’s all cow dung that he’s talking.

What’s that smell?

Mr. Lovell explains why Bajans can't see the Doppler weather radar on the internet...

“Hopefully, in the not too distant future we will have all the images on a website we are in the process of developing” said Lovell, explaining that despite the criticisms they had received over early warning in regards to Tropical Storm Tomas, he could not say that the public having access to the radar would have helped the situation.

… from the Barbados Today article “Doppler radar up soon.”

What a pile of cow dung! We were told the same thing over a year ago on June 28, 2009 in the Barbados Advocate article Doppler Radar On-stream.

Lovell thinking right out of the 1850’s?

I’m going to back up a bit here and not be so in ya face with Mr. Lovell. He probably is a decent fellow who knows his stuff about weather and radar. Fair enough. We need a guy like that… but we want more. Lovell can deliver if he wants to. He has what it takes if he wants.

But… if he’s going to be in charge of our Doppler Radar, he needs to rethink why he and his colleagues do what they do and the importance of making the data accessible to the public.

Consider this, Mr. Lovell…

If you make the Doppler weather radar images available on the internet, the public will tune in. Folks have already shown that they are interested. Once they see the data, they will want more information and knowledge that your agency is in a unique position to deliver. Online access will create interest in the weather and your organisation.

Even if folks can’t interpret the data properly, they see the storm clouds gathering and they talk. That would be better during the hurricane season, wouldn’t it? And then your organisation would be in a position to directly communicate to a receptive audience.

Mr. Lovell: Where is your Facebook page?

Where’s your Twitter feed?

You don’t get it, do you?

But we’ll give you a chance to re-think your perspective and your mission. Take some time and think in a new frame of mind.

Embrace the opportunity of the internet, Mr. Lovell!

You have a choice Mr. Lovell. Provide the leadership to bring more weather information to more Bajans than ever before, to get folks more excited and knowledgeable about the importance of weather forecasting and reporting…

… or stay on the path that you are on.

But whatever you decide, let your employers know, okay? That’s us… ordinary folk who pay taxes. We deserve more respect and attention from you and your organisation.

As David G. Brooks said not too long ago…

Why has the Barbados Meteorological Office been so tardy in having a comprehensive internet web site that we can be proud of, like nearly all of the other islands?

I have heard rumours of funding problems to get this data on the web but I can only think this to be a red herring, as internet site and basic cost are dirt cheap if you just want to get your (even highly invested) data out there.

So this begs the question, does our own Meteorological Office really want to share this data?

… from the BFP article URGENT! – Where is Barbados’ Weather Doppler Radar Data?

Now look here

At BFP it’s our nature to be a little acidic, a bit in yo face – because four decades of being polite “Yessa Massa” haven’t moved us towards the free, prosperous and democratic society that Bajans want and deserve. Truth is… we tossed our old Massas in ’66 and received new ones in their place.

Mighty Gabby knows the truth of what I speak!!! That’s why they tried to bring him down. Do you disagree? You cannot.

Mostly when I (Cliverton) write I’ve got the music blasting away and it’s a blend between half-caste Nesta Marley’s Uprising message in Redemption Song and AC/DC’s pure sexual energy at about 150 decibels. And if you feel some mixie conflicts going on there, that’s alright.

Me and Bob, we still working things out together.

Sometimes I listen to Radio66.be out of Belgium.  Sometimes I listen to John Lennon singing Working Class Hero or some of Vivaldi’s Baroque harpsichord pieces. The Corrs? I love them. Try “Runaway”. Helen Gross “My Man Ain’t Yo’ Man” Oh yes! Johnny Winter… Highway 61. YES!

And always, back to ‘Anthony Carter’ LOL.

What’s the point? Nothing, Mr. Lovell.

Give us the information we pay for. If you do, you will grow your organisation, your stature.

If you don’t… well, we’ve always got Martinique Doppler weather radar.

Up to you.

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81 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues

81 responses to “Barbados Meteorological Director: Stupid taxpayers don’t need to see Doppler weather radar online

  1. RRRicky

    I see the Cliverton was on another one of his rum-fueled rants. He makes some good points but he should back off the drink. I’m worried about you Clive.

  2. John

    The maximum range of the St. Maarten radar is shown in the picture above to be 450 km.

    The distance from Fort de France to Bridgetown is about 225 km.

    If the Martinique radar has the same maximum range, then 225 km to the south east of Bridgetown is all we will see, assuming the Martinique radar is located at Fort de France.

    We will get a very good view when a storm approaching from the south east is very close to or actually hitting Barbados and an even better one after it has passed.

    … and that is best case.

    It also assumes we have access to the internet which some of us did whose telephone lines had not been knocked out last week.

    It doesn’t take into consideration the radius of curvature of the earth and the fact that radar is strictly “line of sight”.

    Maybe I am missing something here.

    I got about 10 hours warning.

    I first heard the bulletin about 3:30pm Friday afternoon. Luckily I was in a Government office with the radio playing. I don’t listen to the radio. The effect on staff was electric.

    I experienced serious gusts from about 2:00 am Saturday morning. By 6:30 am it really started blowing.

    In 10 hours moving at 20 km/hr the storm travelled 200 km. This matches well with the numbers above.

    This would seem to indicate that that the bulletin at 3:30 pm Friday had its genesis with folks watching the Martinique Doppler Radar.

    Now, if ours was working and available on the internet, we could have had another 10 hours.

    Google Martinique Doppler and you will find the maximum range is actually 400 km and you can see the area it covers.

    It is vastly better than nothing but is no substitiute for having ours working and available on the internet 24/7.

    We could get an extra 10 to 12 hours warning.

  3. Adrian Loveridge

    John,

    Do you know what is actually wrong with our Doppler Radar and what it would cost to fix and maintain it?

    The original funding came from a European grant I understand.

    To me, an extra 10 hours warning maybe would have reduced the overall insurance claims, so it surely would be in the insurance and re-insurance companies interests to get more involved?

    We had between $15,000 and $20,000 worth of damage, but of course insurance here has first 2% of sum insured which you cannot claim, so like Ivan, we will not be able to get a cent.

  4. theWatcher

    Put simply. Old public servants seem to believe that their respective departments belong to them personally. They also seem to believe that by holding on to these small vestiges of “power” they somehow elevate themselves relative to the “rest” of us.
    To Mr Lovell: That radar in Castle Grant yard is neither theirs or yours! It belongs to Barbadians. Our taxes may not have paid for it, but they certainly help to keep it running. Just like the Trinidadian issue now before us, we will boycott your organization for failure to comply with our wishes to be able to inform ourselves via the tools afforded us and now hoarded by you and your organization to our obvious detriment.
    If you do not know how to get this information to the Web, then ASK! But get it done! The weather is exceedingly un-predictable and erratic these days and we can’t afford to sit idly by waiting on you and pandering to your “fears” of being wrong in some prediction that you deliver. And we are not going to wait until a Mega-Disaster befalls us to decide to act.
    We want as much information as we can get to make informed decisions for ourselves, and part of that means access to the information which you now protect like it is personally yours. We want access to the radar data and images: Make it so!
    I am Watching to see what you will do!

  5. Nostradamus

    Ok. just to be clear. Is the doppler radar in Barbados working or not?

    If it is not why waste time with a red herring story (Barbados Today) about giving access to images by locals? What images? From a non functioning radar?

    Shouldn’t the real story be about why our doppler is not up and running?

    And BFP you are not much help either on this one running off about access to images that it sems aren’t available. At least you have the excuse of drinking too much Mount Gay…LOL

  6. John

    Adrian

    I don’t know what is wrong.

    I re-read the Barbados Today piece and it sounds at the end that the problems relate to high maintenace.

    It would be a shame if maintenance is the reason it is down

    What is sure is that if it is down then no internet images are possible.

    Whether or not people can interpret them is a red herring, neither here nor there.

    It should be left to people to gain experience watching the pictures and experiencing the actuality and the Met service to provide on the same web site some guidelines on how to interpret the images, or make some disclaimer to the effect that it is up to the public to educate themselves.

    For a business on the south east coast of Barbados that is susceptible to weather damage I can see that an extra half day would make a big difference.

    It seems for the moment you will have to use the Martinique radar to gain experience for close systems until the Barbados Doppler images become available.

    Maybe the folks in Martinique have something on their site about interpretation.

    There are translators on the web where the text can be copied and pasted and the english version rendered.

    There is a real possibility for Mr. Lovell, his superiors and staff to create a real win win situation and not appear to the public as dinosours.

    Politics and budgets are probably at the root and your suggestion could solve both and bring a third party into creating a win win win situation.

  7. WTF?

    The Barbados Today story can also be read that Mr. Lovell and his friends think a website is high maintenance.

    Is the radar up and running now or isn’t it? That’s not clear in the story, which is not a very good piece of journalism if you ask me.

  8. WHISTLING FROG

    I was watching the approach of Tomas by viewing it on the Martinique radar and knew exactly what was happening. Had the relevant local ‘authorities’ been doing the same – there would have been noi excuse for them to be caught with their pants down.

    I have to say it again ~ I have a BIG PROBLEM with these stuffed-shirt SCHOLARS who know nothing – yet who continue to pompaset as authorities…

  9. Barbados Today!

    According to The Barbados Advocate, the Doppler radar went operational in June of 2009. At that time the Director of Meteorological Services said this about distributing the information from the radar:

    “He noted however, that additional components related to the dissemination of information were still being tested.”

    The radar is expected to improve forecasting and preparedness and is part of a network of nine radars throughout the Caribbean that will contribute to the Regional Weather Radar Warning Service and provide information to the public, Government agencies, disaster preparedness agencies, and other users.

    Doppler radar on-stream

    6/28/2009

    The Doppler weather radar at Castle Grant, St. Joseph is operational and has been generating data that is utilised at the Meteorological Office in Barbados.

    Director of Meteorological Services, Chesterfield Layne, provided an
    update on the status of the radar to The Barbados Advocate earlier this week. He noted however, that additional components related to the dissemination of information were still being tested.

    The radar is expected to improve forecasting and preparedness and is part of a network of nine radars throughout the Caribbean that will contribute to the Regional Weather Radar Warning Service and provide
    information to the public, Government agencies, disaster preparedness
    agencies, and other users. The project was financed by the European Union (EU) to the tune of $38.9 million and implemented by the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO). The other new Doppler radars installed in Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Belize, are operational and have been tested according to the CMO.

  10. dacosta marshall

    OMG….MY 6 YR OLD KNOWS HOW TO READ THE WEATHER RADAR…WOW…TO THINK THAT HE KNOWS HOW TO READ IT BECAUSE HE IS AS SCARED OF TORNADOS AS I AM ..HERE IN ATLANTA.. …. AND THEREFORE…EDUCATED IN WHAT IS SO SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND AS A COLOR CODED WEATHER RADAR….MR LOVELL…WE ARE BAJANS…WE ARE EDUCATED….99.6 % OF US… AND YOUR INSISTENCE THAT WE ARE SIMPLE MINDED IS MOST TAXING…AND INSULTING…

  11. John

    $38.9 Million!!!!!!!!!!

    The politicians in the various islands must have been salivating.

    Antgua must have been cursing its bad luck at being bypassed.

    No wonder we can’t get no images.

    Martinique is the only one run by a “First World” country as a Department of France.

    It’s corruption perception index is that of France which is 6.8.

    Barbados has a corruption perception index of 7.8.

    It is thus perceived as being far less corrupt than Martinique and France.

    Trinidad has an index of 3.6, Guyana 2.7 starting to approach the end of the scale for perceived high corruption.

    Belize doesn’t have one.

    Somalia seems to be perceived as the most corrupt country with an index of 1.1.

    It is all about perceptions!!

  12. John

    WHISTLING FROG
    November 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm
    I was watching the approach of Tomas by viewing it on the Martinique radar and knew exactly what was happening.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I am curious to know from when you first started seeing Tomas on the Martinique radar.

    Could you see it any time on Thursday?

  13. anthony

    Ahh more trying to cover their tail. Only people who can’t read a doppler radar with a simple colour bar at the bottom or side showing the severity from low to high would be blind people. Why is it our is last to go live even after guyana had to go to a whole other building site after the first was one was found unsuitable. As for martinque own, doppler radar best usage range is under 200km ( a little short of barbados) which is where the most accurate data is derived but can range out to 400km to give a good estimate that said it a very good indication as when it going to rain. To finally end my rant. trinidad, belize guyana or martinque doesn’t have a usage guide with their radar data so are you saing barbadian are foolish since he saying we need one? smh

    links for the trinidad belize guyanana and martinque doppler radar date respectively

    http://www.metoffice.gov.tt/satellite_imagery/Silverlight_radar_imagery.aspx

    http://www.hydromet.gov.bz/Radar%20Loop%20250km.htm

    http://www.hydromet.gov.gy/400%20Km%20Radar%20Image.html

    http://www.meteo.fr/temps/domtom/antilles/pack-public/animation/animMOSAIC2.html

  14. anthony

    no you can’t due to range limitation. best you could have seen it approaching was friday before that was ir Satellite images or maybe our doppler radar if we had access to it .

  15. John

    I kept an eye on it from the satellite images during the week and was surprised it could get so close before any warnings were given.

    It was obvious to me it was one to be watched but I did not use the Martinique radar, just relied on intellicast infra red and Terrapin for the discussion.

  16. David G. Brooks

    I think this animation link below, compliments of the (French) Martinique Doppler Radar, shows it all.

    At 400 km (250 miles) range – which ours can do TOO – but lets say 200 miles which is close to range (from Martinique) when the first image shown here was captured … with Tomas moving at 15 mph we ‘could’ have seen the approach some 12-15 hours before it pasted which would have been late ‘afternoon’ on the Friday (Oct. 29).

    See for yourself …

  17. David G. Brooks

    I should really have said … “mid-afternoon on the Friday…”.

  18. John

    David

    This is when the warnings were issued. Which leads me to think the autorities were relying on Martinique and lost 10 to 12 hours.

  19. John

    If I had seen that image or something like it on Thursday night I would have concentrated on preparing earlier.

    That would only have been possible if the Barbados was working.

  20. John

    Can you retreive what the 29th looked like?

    Obviously it would not have in the system this one for the 30th shows.

    It would be very interesting to see.

  21. anthony

    thing is trinidad was almost shutdown 12pm that day.now as the storm was more southward ( but as we are more westernly so we would see if first on our radar well if it is working) they could have seen it but they only put up to 150km on the website but they can see up to 400km so i guess our met department must be using the same interent resources as our people since they had no warning before. if they had T&T doppler radar we might have shutdown from before as well.

  22. David G. Brooks

    @John, I’m trying, but I also plan to do a more complete report – see my web site …

    http://www.brohavwx.com/

    … and watch that spot … it may take me a few days or so, maybe even a week or two but I will post something there … meanwhile I’m gathering data, etc. Anyone that can provide or dig up information, images, are welcomed to send it via the web site e-mail link.

  23. John

    David

    That is one neat animation.

    It shows the passage of the eye a little to the south of the island with first the front of the storm hitting us prior to 4:00 am in the morning.

    Winds from the north east determined by the circulation.

    The eye passed.

    Then the winds picked back up about 6:30am, coming this time from south west, determined by the circulation.

    Hope I got my directions right.

    The real sting was in the tail.

    I suspect after 6:30 am was when the most damage was done.

    Fantastic image.

    Wonderful.

    Thanks.

    Hope Mr. Lovell uses your skills to educate we poor fools when eventually the images get on the net.

  24. David G. Brooks

    @anthony: That’s precisely what I was going to say … Trinidad has the same radar installed here and in Guyana and Belize – all under the exact same EU project/fund/agreement – but they have always seemed to have kept theirs (on the internet, at least) at only 200 km (125 miles).

    This is half the full range, their radar could have provided us with view from the south, as Martinique’s did from the north, but still not as FAR out as ours could have for us and the other islands

    You will have noted in the text advisories from the NHC in Miami, that the Barbados GOVERNMENT issued watches and warnings for most of the other islands … so our radar is not just for us!

    ZCZC MIATCPAT1 ALL
    TTAA00 KNHC DDHHMM
    BULLETIN
    TROPICAL STORM TOMAS ADVISORY NUMBER 1
    NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL212010
    500 PM AST FRI OCT 29 2010

    …THE NINETEENTH NAMED STORM OF THE SEASON FORMS SOUTHEAST OF THE
    WINDWARD ISLANDS…TROPICAL STORM WARNINGS ISSUED…

    SUMMARY OF 500 PM AST…2100 UTC…INFORMATION
    ———————————————-
    LOCATION…11.1N 57.5W
    ABOUT 200 MI…320 KM SE OF BARBADOS
    ABOUT 290 MI…470 KM ESE OF ST. VINCENT
    MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…40 MPH…65 KM/HR
    PRESENT MOVEMENT…WNW OR 295 DEGREES AT 17 MPH…28 KM/HR
    MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…998 MB…29.47 INCHES

    WATCHES AND WARNINGS
    ——————–
    CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY…

    THE GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING FOR
    BARBADOS…AND ST. VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES.

    THE GOVERNMENT OF FRANCE HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL WARNING FOR
    MARTINIQUE.

    THE GOVERNMENT OF ST. LUCIA HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WARNING
    FOR ST. LUCIA.

    THE GOVERNMENT OF TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM
    WARNING FOR TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO…AND GRENADA.

    THE GOVERNMENT OF BARBADOS HAS ISSUED A TROPICAL STORM WATCH FOR
    DOMINICA.

  25. David G. Brooks

    This was after the Hurricane Hunter had been in Tomas for several hours … and note the 200 miles SE of Barbados … it would have been on our radar, if it was working, a couple hours BEFORE this advisory at 5 PM, which was an update advisory to the standard 2100 UTC (5 PM) one that was prepared before the 5 pm but had to be quickly changed.

  26. David G. Brooks

    I have not had time (yet) to read all of the post here (above), so sorry if I repeat something already mentioned … but I understand that several of our fishing boats spent Friday night some 200 miles of Barbados and could get home until Sunday morning.

    I know some of this was on the news too, but I’m playing catch here (on BFP).

  27. John

    anthony
    November 7, 2010 at 2:49 pm
    thing is trinidad was almost shutdown 12pm that day.now as the storm was more southward ( but as we are more westernly so we would see if first on our radar well if it is working) they could have seen it but they only put up to 150km on the website but they can see up to 400km so i guess our met department must be using the same interent resources as our people since they had no warning before. if they had T&T doppler radar we might have shutdown from before as well.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Puts a whole new light on what the TT PM had to say!!

  28. John

    … so much for CSME, CARICOM etc. etc.

  29. David G. Brooks

    A colleague of mine called the Met. Office a few weeks ago, maybe back in Sept., to ask about the Radar at Castle Grant and one of the first questions he was asked was “… but why would you want to see the radar imagery …”.

    He said he was floored.

  30. anthony

    well guyana & martinque one is at 400km . belize at 250km and trinidad @ 150km. though trinidad does issue warning for Grenada . they first issue a warning @ 3pm 24th oct for Grenada and T&T

  31. John

    Using Google Earth and the 400 km range I reckon Trinidad would have picked up the storm 4-6 hours before it appeared on Martinique radar.

    If ours had been working …. we might have had a half day.

    Our radar not only benefits us, but other islands as well.

    Maybe it is we and not Trinidad who are let down CARICOM last Friday!! … but is the TT PM who said the words.

    I hope we soon get our radar up and running (if it is down) and get the images up on the internet.

    A great deal of people can benefit.

    Do not let it become a politial football.

  32. David G. Brooks

    I would like to remind the Barbados Met. Office of the following … see this link for full story …

    http://www.cmo.org.tt/Radar.htm

    Four new Doppler digital radars in Barbados, Belize, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago, which will provide continuous real-time radar coverage out to 400 kilometres from each site and which will enable the National Meteorological Services (NMSs) to provide images and guidance to the public and key local sectors, such as the aviation industry, the water resources sector, agriculture and disaster preparedness officials.

    Note: “… to provide images and guidance to the PUBLIC and key local sectors.”

  33. David G. Brooks

    I for one think there should be an official Public Enquiry, but I think the power-that-be are hoping that with death of the PM and State Funeral that it will mask it, but they are SO wrong, the average man in the street is not impressed because he/she are more educated than they were 30 years ago.

    If the MP’s went out on the streets and paid some mind to what was public sentiment they would hear, or maybe they are afraid of what they may hear.

    (I’m still play catch up with the above comments, so bare with me)

  34. David G. Brooks

    “… but according to Mr. Hampden Lovell, the information that Barbados taxpayers are presently able to see online from Martinique radar is the same as they would see from Barbados anyway.”

    That is the biggest bunch of BS I’ve heard in a long time, how can the Martinique Radar ‘see’ 400 km further east of Barbados than Barbados could.

    Old Bajan saying, ” the higher the monkey climbs, the more you see his tail”

  35. David G. Brooks

    “At BFP it’s our nature to be a little acidic, a bit in yo face – because four decades of being polite “Yessa Massa” haven’t moved us towards the free, prosperous and democratic society that Bajans want and deserve. Truth is… we tossed our old Massas in ’66 and received new ones in their place.”

    YET Martinique, like Guadeloupe who also has their own Radar, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department – i.e. other words for a COLONY of France, face it! – can have their own radar for years now provided by the French Government. We and other former British Colonies have had to wait for the European Union (EU) – which includes Britain – to provide the funding, etc. for our own doppler radar.

    Maybe Nelson should have lost to the French, maybe we should throw down his statue. Its time like this you wonder if you should be saying “Vive la France”. But then I guess we would have still been ungrateful and acted just as stupid and arrogant today, either way.

  36. David G. Brooks

    @Nostradamus (from earlier up) … I have been on this case since last year with a Letter to the Editor of both the Nation and the Advocate, which were published, again earlier this year I think it was February/March and then again in July.

    My last one was in early Sept. but neither would publish it and I sent it then to BFP which they posted under “URGENT! – Where is Barbados’ Weather Doppler Radar Data?” which has been mentioned here already.

    This was all when I radar was working, yes since last year, but I am told, by whom I would call a reliable source, but cannot confirm it definitely (i.e. from another cross-reference source) that the radar suffered a (sub-)system failure before Tomas was even thought about, so that is why on my web site next to the Barbados Radar link you will now see (MIA) – Missing-In-Action.

    I have had many people contact me over the last few months, both local and internationally, regarding this issue and our local Met. Office in general giving me encouragement.

    One eminent person has told me that of all the Government Depts. they have had to deal with in Barbados and Regionally, the Barbados Met. Office is THE worse to deal with for cooperation and get information out of, all others are very cooperative.

  37. David G. Brooks

    @John:

    I started to see the opening of the eye of Tomas entering the edge of the Martinique radar screen around 2-3 AM Saturday morning, as I’ve said above if our was available it would have started being seen on the edge by maybe 3 pm of Friday, all things being equal.

    Satellite images can be a bit misleading at times especially Infra-Red (and false coloured ones, you will note on my web site I post all but one of my own processed images received by my ground station, in grey-scale.

    The problem especially for a developing system like Tomas, whose surface circulation was not vertically aligned with its mid and upper level circulation, which is what the satellite imagery would mostly show, would have been covered by a heavy cirrus, cirrocumulus and cirrostratus clouds and therefore mask the centre or make it confusing and difficult to evaluate.

    That’s where the radar comes in and the two together, along with all other factors, combine to make forecasting much better.

  38. David G. Brooks

    One last one before I give this a rest and give some others time to respond … (look for the Radar link)

    http://www.agriculture.gov.bb/

    In response to one my earlier posts on the blog provided there …

    ****************************************
    Re. Where is our own Doppler Radar data?
    written by Sonia Nurse – Deputy Director (Ag), July 13, 2010
    Dear Sir,

    Please note that the up-dated link does include Barbados. [again, this was the Martinique link – DGB]

    We were previously experiencing some technical difficulties in setting up the link with the other radars in the eastern Caribbean.
    *********************************************

    They has since put a blog link for T.S. Tomas, I have directed them to read this blog on BFP (if they will). Of course, my recent post there is awaiting moderation right now.

  39. John

    David G. Brooks
    November 7, 2010 at 6:24 pm
    @John:

    I started to see the opening of the eye of Tomas entering the edge of the Martinique radar screen around 2-3 AM Saturday morning
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Which was when we were getting gusts of wind in Barbados.

    Could you see the circulation of the bands before that?

    If this Doppler Radar gives you that real time superimposed on a Lat/Lon grid, it should also give an idea of wind speeds.

    It is just a matter of measuring the time over which the band circulated a known distance determined by the lat/lon grid.

    Hope the powers that be get this thing running properly … and quickly.

    It is a great idea.

  40. John

    The windspeed will increase the closer to the centre the measurement is made …. just imagining what one might see.

    Man …… this could be real fun to watch and use.

    It could ease people’s minds or make them move quicker to take precautions.

    Who is dragging their foots?

  41. David G. Brooks

    I wish I knew but all I can consider is that it goes deep – politics, protection of little kingdoms (or potential ineptitude), plain old bureaucracy, age-old conservatism or all of the above (and what have yet thought about) … I don’t know.

    But I do know this, with regard to TOMAS there are many institutions – insurance companies, fisher folk, marine operators and simple citizens who are asking questions, demanding answers and I feel it is just beginning and so heads may roll this time around.

    The Met. Office is not inly to blame, even the NHC in Miami will be called into question, but the Barbados Government were not paying attention at the time and the people know this and are complaining that they were paying another matter too much attention – I’ve heard this at the grass roots level, even from people in St. John.

  42. David G. Brooks

    John,

    I see you are a bit of a physicist – my old calling at UWI – I suppose I should have done Meteorology but back in the early to mid 1980’s it did not have the potential as it may today, especially since their commercial aspect of it now (maybe that’s what is feared here the most, hmm.)

    Oh by the way, the winds picked in Rockley (South Coast) just after 6:30 am from the SE – around that time I estimated the centre (point) of the eye to be about 8 miles SW of Bridgetown

    See my Weather Station data on Weather Underground …

    http://www.wunderground.com/weatherstation/WXDailyHistory.asp?ID=ICHRISTC8&month=10&day=30&year=2010

    As I said, I intend to do a detailed report/account of it – I will try to be as impartial as possible.

  43. John

    You actually have data by day back to t2006.

    Very good.

    Look at the rainfall rate per hour in inches on the morning of the 30th. of October 2010.

    It seems high.

    It seems to last over an hour constantly which suggests you had 30″ of rain fall where you live.

    I know we had alot of rain but this seems high.

    We had heavy rain in the morning and then really heavy and constant rain at night which you don’t seem to have had.

    Maybe I am interpreting the data wrongly but take a look.

    In the old time days, any planter of any worth religiously measured rainfall on a daily basis.

    Rainfall determined output so it used to be on a must know basis.

    This practice fell into disuse.

    A Mr. Skeete collected and processed the data and did the statistical analysis. This was long before my time.

    I have seen average rainfall by year and month back to 1843 in a report put out by the Barbados Sugar Technologists Association.

    I looked at technology like what you have to see if it it was possible to place rainfall/weather stations all over the island to take the measurements you show on your site and replace the manual feedback measurement system that was used for rainfal for centuries.

    I believe the data would be of use to BWA.

    You have done a good job getting the data to your website.

  44. rasta man

    I just love it. Bajans in St.Joseph do not have any water but we are collecting water to send to St lucia.

  45. Politically Tired

    Parts of St Andrew, Greg Farm, are without water, St Joseph is back on. St Lucia is in a bad way & needs help, I’m sure they’d help us is the circumstances were reversed.

  46. David G. Brooks

    @John …

    “Look at the rainfall rate per hour in inches on the morning of the 30th. of October 2010.

    It seems high. ”

    Yes it does and I think it is erroneous, but not that we didn’t quite a bit of rain (maybe between 3.5 to 4 inches in the morning period as measured on conventional rain gauges) – reason, the Davis Rain Gauge uses a sort of see-saw collector attached to a reed-switch so as the water drops through as makes one side heavy enough it tips bring the other side up to collect the next set of rain drops – click, click, etc. back & forth as a counter – normally this works fine, except in torrential rain and it tends to register much less than conventional rain gauges.

    However I feel the wind had the collector, which is just a foot below the anemometer but some feet away on a antenna type pole, shaking so much that it see-sawed its way to ‘record’ rainfall rates.

  47. David G. Brooks

    … I/we will look at adjusting the orientation and platforms of the outside sensors for later.

  48. Storm Warning

    See how me calling myself “Storm Warning” got you to look at it?

    That is a small illustration for Mr. Lovell that if the Barbados Met. Service had a Facebook page that announced a Storm Warning, thousands of Bajans immediately know and start alerting their families, friends, neighbours and employers.

    BFP is right: Lovell doesn’t get it at all. His job was to alert Barbadians as soon as possible when trouble is brewing, and to do so in all possible ways so as many of us as possible can take steps to protect ourselves and our property.

    Lovell failed in his duty. I don’t think he knows what Facebook and Twitter are.

  49. Straight talk

    @David and John,
    Have you guys got historical temperature records for Bim?
    I’m very interested in researching our current drive for cash handouts to mitigate AGW.

  50. John

    Sorry, I don’t have any historic data on temperature.

  51. John

    David

    Before adjusting try recalibration.

    Compare the results you get with a standard rain guage.

    But, I agree with you.

    I think the constant 30 in/hour for the long period on the 30th suggests the rainfall measurement device was swamped.

    The wind data with the dramatic reversal in direction as the eye passed is great.

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  53. David G. Brooks

    John,

    I have it calibrated to the mean of several rain gauges my Dad has around the house (he lives next door), but as I said I think it was more a case of the constant vibration caused by the high winds that produced the false readings at that time – normally it does not happen.

    Note design of the rain gauge (click above), if you where to rock that mechanism continuously it would register rain that did not exist. Its mounted on a pole which works fine for normal cases but it must have been swaying/vibrating under the heavy winds we had during that half hour or so.

  54. dimwit

    Hell any jackass with .001% of education could have seen rotation of a weather system since wednesday 2 days before the storm,,,, I and most of my friends were well aware of this storm long before any idiot employed by the govt did,,,we all went surfing before the storm cause we knew what was coming ,,And its all because we use the internet to gather our own information,, Get wise!!!

  55. David G. Brooks

    Just looking back over that article above quoting Mr. Lovell saying that …

    “The same information that Martinique Radar is going to give them, that is exactly what our radar will be giving as well”

    If he was quoted verbatim then I wonder whether he realised what he was saying, and that it did not make sense and if so, did he also realise that he basically insulted the average Barbadian’s intelligence, who may have done some Geography at secondary school. Maybe he has forgotten the concept of the Doppler Shift was taught in Physics.

    Even in the most simple of terms Martinique is geographically about 240 km (150 miles) to the Northwest of Barbados. This is just over half the maximum range of both radars.

    How in heavens name could that mean that equate to ‘exactly’ the same information? Does he realise the international, and meteorological savvy audience out there that is monitoring what he is saying, or does he care?

    I agree that reading and interpreting Doppler Radar data is complex when attempting to glean certain types of data from the image produced by the soundings.

    Rainfall, its rate and direction, which can then help with its forecasting (or rather nowcasting), in addition to analysis of thunderstorm cells, potential micro-burst and tornado/water-spout type potential.

    However, what most laymen would like is the cross-sectional image of an approaching system, cyclonic or not, which is much better than satellite imagery and/or compliments satellite imagery, and other localised features that in-tuned people are aware of.

    I should also mention to Messrs. Lovell, Burke and Best that you have a possible brigade of professionals out here (or rather right here IN Barbados and the other islands) that can understand most of this because it was part of their training – Aeroplane or Helicopter Pilots, Ship Captains, Navigators, Oceanographers, Physicist maybe even Agronomist and a host of others, but not to mention the average educated citizen with some common sense, aptitude and ability to deduce facts.

    Yours may be to deduce the fine tuned data, and even then you should know that meteorology is not an exact science, but not to allow the 15-30 minute image of our radar (and animation, and archive of such) to be seen by the general public, is paramount to the height of arrogance.

  56. David G. Brooks

    @dimwit: To go further … this is another area of Sports Tourism … Surfers (internationally) have become well tuned and have educated themselves (like most other interested parties) to watching the weather – which with the advent of the internet – to the general public around the mid-1990’s or so – has become the norm – something that our Met. Office in the year 2010 still does not seem to comprehend and/or refuses to consider.

  57. David G. Brooks

    YES, everyone in their right mind would (should) consider the official forecast produced by the Met. Office, which is usually at six (6) hour intervals but a lot can happen in 6 hours

    By Mr. Burke’s own admission as part of the above interview, he actually (maybe unwittingly) makes the case for having near-real time data at everyone’s disposal, when he mention about the radar imagery showed rain showers coming up to the island chain from Trinidad but then is dissipated before getting here.

    Satellite imagery is available (nearly) every half hour (30 min.), certainly from my GOES LRIT ground reception system … Radar imagery is available real time, and can conceivably be put on the internet for practical purposes every 15-30 minutes, with animations to boot.

    So I suppose that blows Mr. Burke’s argument right out of the water, unless as perceived by the public the Met. Office wants to be waited on … the public behoved to their pleasure. Like saying goes, “to await the Queen’s [or King’s] pleasure”.

    I recall another saying in cases like this, when as you’re digging your hole in the ground there comes a time when you realise you should throw away the spade … (less you dig deeper and make your own grave).

  58. David G. Brooks

    Oh, by the way, I take note of Mr. Best’s comment (and more than once) at the end of the article that “A Radar is a real high maintenance” … not disagreeing with this in practical terms but could we also read something else into this … maybe a precursor as to why the the radar may have been down at the time of Tomas passage?

  59. David G. Brooks

    Mr. Lovell, et al., if you do happen to check this site out, please tell what part of this radar animation from Martinique (and from they way they presented it, seemed to say, ‘see, we caught it but no one else did and we could only do so much from where we are’) that even my 9 year old could not see a rotating cyclone?

  60. John

    I agree, David.

    Next time!!! Hopefully we will be as lucky or luckier.

    It would have been interesting to watch how the rainfall varied as the storm passed and look for what were the rain spots in a snapshot of the animation for the times of high precipitation.

    The data on the wind speed/direction and barometric pressure is really good.

    Looks like Rockley first found itself in the eye about 4:45am. The wind direction abruptly shifted.

    About 5:30am the barometric pressure reached a minimum. You reckon that the centre was 8 miles SW of Bridgetown so it had actually passed Rockley before a minimum BP was sensed at Rockley.

    .. and then about 6:30 am the wind picked up, I saw that too about four miles inland.

    About 6:00am I was ready to go back home but held on because of the old wisdom about the eye.

    The sting came after the eye had passed.

    Your data bears this out very well and matches what the animation shows.

    It would be good to stop the animation at the three times in your data and really examine the snapshots of what the storm looked like at those times in your data.

    Hopefully it is simple!!

  61. John

    Easier than I thought.

    Saved it.

    Opened it with QuickTime Player.

    Stopped it at will.

    Technology!!!

  62. John

    Is there an equivalent animation to show the passage of Tomas over St. Vincent?

  63. David G. Brooks

    If I find one I will pass it on …

    Otherwise, anyone watching between 6-8N 40-45W … about the same place Tomas came from … minor signs but still needs to be watched … sea temperatures still quite warm out there.

    Note wind patterns earlier today …

    No need to panic, as Mr. Lovell would love to happen and then say, see what happens with amateurs … but keep an eye on it just in case.

  64. John

    I see.

    Terrapin isn’t saying much except there is rain and thundershowers.

    Seems almost stationary.

  65. David G. Brooks

    I see Lowdown in today’s (Weekend) Nation has taken a proper shot at the Met. Office regarding this issue and Tomas and no mincing of words either, and he coming back for more next week … (hopefully he doesn’t get muzzled).

    I’m glad someone else decided to do it, but note it had to be a regular columnist and not a (investigative) reporter.

    Go Lowdown – want help? Call for an inquiry!

    I trying to finish my report but last few days been busy otherwise and tired after (normal) work.

  66. David G. Brooks

    See … Tomas gone, everybody forget … nothing will come of this. Sigh. SOS.

  67. Curius

    @ David G. Brooks
    Wind direction seems good but wind data seems a bit low. Peak winds at 35mph/55km sustained seem hard to believe for the station.

  68. David G. Brooks

    As I noted before the anemometer is a bit low – its at the recommended height above the structure/roof is mounted to – but there are some trees and in this case a two story house located to its S-SSE (where the winds were coming from) and that would cause some issues with wind accuracy especially as it gets higher.

    I intend to look at increasing its height but I have to give it more thought or it may be vulnerable.

  69. Curius

    Okay that seems to explain it.

  70. David G. Brooks

    Well, well, well … it seems they got to Lowdown, he toned down his “more next week on Tomas” and even gave an apology for last weeks column. He still managed to try a different line.

    Hmm, must have threatened to remove his sister-in-law Independent Senator from the Senate, and make it look like it was just a changing of the guard as the new PM took over (like Owen did), or some other power play.

    Now BFP that should be something for you to dig at … sounds like a cover up, even our safety from the elements is a play-thing for the powers-that-be.

  71. David G. Brooks

    I suspect that his (Lowdown’s) making those stupid looking comments regarding the formation of Hurricane Tomas, etc. in today’s column … should mean that we read BETWEEN the lines?

  72. David G. Brooks

    I have managed to get a sample, but real image produced from our Doppler Radar here in Barbados at some point in time when it was working.

    Where I have superimposed the position of Tomas at 5 PM Friday Oct. 29th just so you can see where it was relative the the radar’s full scope – the lighter blue area is the scope extent.

    Note at this time Tomas was 50 miles inside of the radar full range of 250 miles or 400 km, just like Martinique’s. Granted at that range only the upper half or less of Tomas’ structure would have been discernible, but as a strengthening system as that point in time its clouds top temperature where between -50C to -80C which would put most of the said cloud structure in excess of 35,000 feet on upwards to 50,000 feet and over.

    With the radar at just over 1,000 feet above sea level, the cloud tops need only be above 20,000 feet to be detected at 250 miles range – text book calculations, yes, but let’s say 30,000 feet should be amble, and was well demonstrated by the similar ranged Martinique Radar 150 miles further north-west than Barbados is.

    Have a look for yourself …

  73. John

    Thanks David.

    Looked at the rainfall data on your site for yesterday and day before.

    The 19th seems to have the same trouble as the storm.

    The 20th makes more sense.

    The flat tops for an hour at a time could be a cause for concern but the last rainfall period in the 24 hour period looks good.

    Suspect there may be more going on with the guage than just the wind.

    I did not look at the wind data at the time of the flat tops.

    Maybe it was high enough to cause the problem.

  74. David G. Brooks

    John,

    If you’re talking about the graph with the Humidity and Hourly Rainfall for the 7 days, with yellow bars, then remember its in millimetres and not inches like the Daily Rain meter there too, and yes, between the 19th and 20th. we did had some 2.3 inches (58.4mm) of rain here in Rockley – all my Dad’s conventional rain gauges around the house supported this along with someone in Blue Waters.

    However, I do agree that that graph does some strange things occasionally and I think its a software issue, or how it does its auto-scaling – maybe I should try a graph with just rain itself and not a combo.

    The fact that I cannot get that graph display to show it in inches, but the main preferences is set to inches which shows on the Daily Rain (dial) meter, tells there is an issue. I reported it to the software vendor but have as yet gotten any feed-back.

  75. David G. Brooks

    BTW …

    @BFP if one wants to send you guys a document (like word or pdf) how can this be done – is there a way to upload files here, surely there must. I would prefer to send the document(s) in the original form rather than try copy and pasting here – won’t have the same effect or authenticity. Then you can decide what to do with the information.

  76. BFP

    Hi David,

    Email the documents to us at barbadosfreepress@yahoo.com

    We’ll put them up in an article or upload them and provide links. Readers can’t upload files directly to the blog but we’re happy to look after it for you. We’ll also put up your description or explanation without editing etc. if that’s your wish.

  77. David G. Brooks

    Sent, check your e-mail.

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