The Hydrometeorological Services Department of the Ministry of Agriculture has been boosted with the addition of 21 Automatic Weather Stations (AWSs), according to the Ministry of the Presi-dency, which says that citizens are expected to receive more accurate and timely weather reports as a result.
The announcement came on Thursday amid concerns that citizens have not been provided with any information on recent bouts of violent weather that have caused damage and left residents traumatised in various parts of the country.
It also came on the same day that Stabroek News reported that the Doppler Radar system, which is meant to deliver weather reports and warnings about severe weather, is down.
In a statement, the ministry said that the weather stations, together with site preparation and installation costs totalling US$257,000 were donated under the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Climate Change Adaptation Programme (CCAP) and was facilitated by the Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre (CCCCC).
In keeping with the investments planned under the programme, one such activity is the provision of the AWSs to enhance the existing network within Guyana and the wider region. Under a CCCCC-commissioned study conducted by the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology in early 2017, Guyana became the beneficiary of the weather stations. The total cost of the stations is US$215,000, with site preparation and installation costs totalling approximately US$42,000.
“They will serve to enhance the national and regional network of climatological observation and early warning stations that would provide optimal coverage to address the meteorological and hydrological needs within Guyana and the sub region. The prime objective is to contribute towards the provision of new climate information and institutional governance to help support the needs and requirements for the many critical sectors in Guyana such as agriculture, mangrove areas, water resources management and others,” the statement said.
Maxine Nestor, Procurement Officer of the CCCCC, said these weather stations will see greater benefits for the country, particularly for fisher folk, farmers and other persons who are dependent on accurate weather data, the statement added said. It made no mention of the $550 million Doppler radar and the concerns that have been raised about it.