Making the Bahamas stormproof

Storm heading towards a beach in Bahamas
The Bahamas

With a modern weather forecasting network, covering the whole expanse of the country, The Bahamas will be able to keep its citizens and numerous visitors safe from the ravages of extreme weather.

The Bahamas is a country that is in the path of hurricanes, and consisting of some 700 low and flat islands, it is prone to any rise in sea level. It is also a large country in area: the weather in the northern islands can be completely different from that in the southernmost islands.

In July 2015, Hurricane Joaquin caused widespread destruction in the Central and Southeast Bahamas. After this, the Government of The Bahamas decided to improve the weather forecasting capabilities of the country, in order to keep its citizens and visitors safe from extreme weather. The Department of Meteorology of The Bahamas turned to Vaisala. After examining the status and needs of the Bahamian weather services, Vaisala created a package of equipment, software and training tailored to the needs of The Bahamas.

“We have over 40 years of history with Vaisala, and Vaisala has provided the most robust and reliable equipment. In this case, it was also important that Vaisala thought of the whole picture for The Bahamas – not just trying to make a deal. Training, for example, was an essential part of the contract for us,” Trevor Basden, Director of The Bahamas Department of Meteorology, points out.




Building better-informed societies together

In October 2016, the contract was signed with Vaisala, collaborating with the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI). The partnership makes is possible to provide Bahamians with the latest in meteorological technology to keep citizens and visitors safe.

Vaisala will provide hardware – weather radars and weather stations – and software, and train Bahamian meteorologists in their efficient use. FMI will provide meteorological software and training. FMI is not only a weather service provider, but also develops its own software, so it knows the ins and outs of meteorological services. While training their Bahamian colleagues, the goal of FMI’s experts is not only to teach them how to use the software but also to build their meteorological capacity and hone their processes, organization and methods further.

Improved weather forecasting capabilities of the Bahamas Department of Meteorology, both through advanced instrumentation and increased expertise, will make it possible to provide advance warnings of approaching severe weather.

Knowing a storm is coming allows time for getting prepared: making sure well in advance that there are extra supplies and sheltering available on the islands in the storm’s path. This decreases loss of life and property from the ravages of hurricanes, tropical storms, and tropical depressions.