Monday 21 October, 2019

Flash flood warning system coming to St Lucia

Thanks to investments under the DVRP, the Saint Lucia Meteorological Services (SLMS) and the Water Resources Management Agency (WRMA) will soon be able to produce real-time flash flood and mudslide warnings to at-risk communities across the island.

Such information will redound to a significant reduction in damage to property and will save lives.

When implemented, the Flash Flood Guidance System will enable local hydro-meteorologists to better predict flash floods for even small streams and creeks on the island, based on the latest actual rainfall estimates, as well as rainfall predictions from numerical weather models. The landslide threat for highly vulnerable locations will also be assessed through the system based on the latest rainfall and soil saturation estimates.

Critically, the system will enable hourly or every six-hour (as possible, based on the real-time data) computational grids of rainfall based on satellite, radar and rain gauge data. Such important information will be available for posting to the websites of both the Saint Lucia Meteorological Services and Water Resources Management for user distribution and access.

To support successful implementation of the system, the contracted supplier will develop a comprehensive training programme for staff of the Meteorological Services and Water Resources Management Agency to include: an on-line training course; hands-on training of personnel on system software/hardware design, functionality and maintenance requirements; hands-on and on-the-job training on the system’s operation; a system administration and operations manual; and maintenance and validation support.

The supplier will develop a programme to monitor the system during the first year of implementation, and work with agency personnel to resolve system-related issues. Remote support by the supplier will also include assistance with the operational use of the various system products.

The contract to supply the Flash Flood Guidance System has already been awarded. The system is expected to be fully installed and functional with training completed by mid-2021.

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