The World Meteorological Organization’s Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) has been extended to the Eastern Caribbean. An expert group meeting took place at the National Hurricane Centre in Miami, USA, from 23 to 26 May 2017 to develop the implementation plan for the sub-project.
The Severe Weather Forecasting Demonstration Project (SWFDP) provides reliable forecasts of hazardous weather in support of disaster risk reduction. It started with participation from five African countries and has grown to serve more than 50 countries around the globe, including least developed countries (LDC) and small island developing states (SIDs) and territories.
Currently, the SWFDP covers Southern and Eastern Africa, South Pacific, Bay of Bengal, Southeast and Central Asia, and now, the Eastern Caribbean. The development of a sub-project is also planned for West Africa this year.
“Since its inception, SWFDP has helped improve the lead-time and reliability of forecasts and warnings for high-impact events such as heavy rain, strong winds and high waves, thus helping to protect lives and properties while supporting vital sectors such as fishing and transportation,” said Abdoulaye Harou, Chief of WMO’s Data Processing and Forecasting Division.
“Ultimately, the project will empower participating national meteorological and hydrological services to maintain effective multi-hazard early warning systems with greater accuracy, more advance notice and in a manner that is more responsive to the needs of users, including disaster management and civil protection agencies, the media and the general public,” he said.
The SWFDP uses a “Cascading Forecasting Process” (global to regional, to national).
- Global centres provide available Numerical Weather Prediction and Ensemble Prediction System products, including in the form of probabilities for a specific time frame;
- Regional Specialized Meteorological Centres interpret information received from global centres and prepare daily guidance products (1-5 day) for distribution to National Meteorological Centres (NMCs) and maintain the regional centre website;
- National Meteorological Centres issue alerts, advisories, severe weather warnings; liaise with disaster management and other economic sectors, and contribute feedback of the project.
The Caribbean sub-project will be implemented In line with the project’s general methodology.
Canada, France and USA will act as global NWP centres. . The regional office of Meteo France in Martinique will serve as a regional forecast support facility and issue daily severe weather forecast guidance products for use by National Meteorological Centres (NMCs) of participating island states and territories which, in turn, issue advisories and severe weather warnings. It is important to note that hurricane related forecasts and products will be provided, as usual, by the National Hurricane Centre in Miami.
The responsibilities the NMCs include liaising with disaster management and other economic sectors and providing feedbacks through quarterly report on their performance.
The Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) in Barbados will also contribute as a regional technical support centre. There will be a strong focus on capacity development through specialized training workshops, which will aim to enhance the interpretation and use of forecast products to improve severe weather forecasting skills as well as to strengthen engagement of NMCs with users.
The meeting in Miami was attended by experts from Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, British Caribbean Territories, Curaçao & Sint Maarten, Haiti, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Guadeloupe and Martinique, as well as from Canada and the USA
SWFDP implementation in the Eastern Caribbean is made possible by seed funding from Canada.