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Contact: Janelle Charles

Thursday, January 17, 2002 - A U.S Consultant working under the OECS Emergency Recovery and Disaster Management component of the World Bank project here has made a number of recommendations aimed at strengthening St. Lucia’s flood warnings systems. Two major recommendations made by Dr David Curtis of NEXRAIN Corporation are the need to upgrade the computer facilities at the island’s meteorological centre and the introduction of high-speed Internet access to improve the data gathering process.

His recommendations follow an 11-day fact finding tour of the island last December during which time he familiarized himself with the island’s geographic terrain, especially the river basins. He also investigated methods used to collect rainfall data and acquainted himself with the operations of the National Meteorological Service. Dr. Curtis has since produced a draft design for a local flood warning system, which he presented to key officials in disaster preparedness on Thursday.

Dr. Curtis is proposing the introduction of automated weather stations and rain gauges, which will provide data in real time to allow forecasters to provide more accurate weather forecasts in a timely manner to the public.

These are components of what is popularly know as ALERT or Automated Local Evaluation in Real Time, which is being proposed by Dr. Curtis. The system is multifaceted and could prove useful in marketing St. Lucia’s tourism product and help in protecting agricultural crop form disease. “So we’re designing weather sensors so that agriculture will benefit. Plantation managers will be able to monitor humidity conditions and help control leaf diseases that are sensitive to different levels of humidity. By providing weather information to the Tourist Board they can actually market the island and the beautiful weather,” Dr. Curtis said.

The recommendations of officials in disaster preparedness will be included in Dr. Curtis’ ALERT proposal.


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