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Cayman: Weather Service Staff Benefit from Conference

 (left to right) Meteorological Forecaster II Kerrie Forbes and Meteorological Observer IV Joel Rivers of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service at the National Hurricane Conference held in Orlando last month.

Two employees of the Cayman Islands National Weather Service, Kerrie Forbes and Joel Rivers, who recently attended the National Hurricane Conference held in Orlando, Florida, have said that the training sessions and workshops at the event provided valuable information on the science of hurricanes and best practices that they will apply to the organisation as Cayman prepares for the 2024 hurricane season.

The conference, which took place 24-28 March, is a major annual event for education and professional development in hurricane and disaster preparedness. It serves as a meeting place for disaster managers and meteorologists to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation for the purpose of saving lives and property.

Kerrie Forbes who is Meteorological Forecaster II and Joel Rivers, a Meteorological Observer IV attended sessions centred on topics relating to hurricane history, meteorology, hydrology and emergency management. They were also exposed to discussions on Hurricane Ivan, which significantly affected the Cayman Islands 20 years ago, in September 2004. Presenters at the conference reflected on the challenges and successes of the 2023 hurricane season, while also acknowledging the tools prepared to aid in severe weather preparation for the upcoming season.

Director General of the National Weather Service, John Tibbetts stated, “Sending staff to the National Hurricane Conference is a long-standing practice to expose the meteorological observers to the wider world of meteorology while the forecasters can be brought up to date with the science of hurricanes and the linkage with disaster managers.”

Similarly, Chief Meteorologist Kerry Powery said, “Attending the hurricane conference provided valuable exposure to various sessions covering new hurricane modelling systems, future tools for tropical cyclone analysis and forecasting, and networking opportunities with representatives from the National Weather Service, National Hurricane Center and the Colorado State University responsible for Atlantic hurricane season predictions.”

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to be very active due in part to the transition from the El Niño phase into Neutral/La Niña phase, along with ongoing above-average sea surface temperatures that encourage tropical cyclone development.

Members of the public are encouraged to prepare and stay informed about tropical system updates for the upcoming hurricane season, provided by the Cayman Islands National Weather Service.


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