Why were Saint Lucians caught with their umbrellas down? It depends what NEMO means by ‘compromised.’

NEMO Director Dawn French: When will she set the record straight on the conflicting  reports?

NEMO Director Dawn French: When will she set the record straight on the conflicting

The following forms part of a press release from the National Emergency Management Organization, issued the day after the most recent storm to hit Saint Lucia. NEMO sounds apologetic: “Forecasters could not predict this weather event as the Met Services equipment has been compromised.”

Was the equipment somehow damaged in advance of the storm? Was there no way to repair it before the rains came? NEMO does not offer an explanation for “compromised.”

The NEMO release goes on, this time unambiguously: “Additionally, radar equipment located in Martinique, on which Saint Lucia’s Met Services depends for weather forecasting, was down, resulting in severely hampered ability to analyze and predict this weather event.”

What’s the difference between equipment “compromised” and equipment that’s “down.” We could not contact NEMO personnel for clarification. Is NEMO saying the operators in Martinique were “severely hampered?”

In any event, their story strongly contradicts what was posted on the Saint Lucia government’s website. In an interview with Maurice Nagou of Martinique Premiere, the head of Meteo France, Jean Noel De Grasse, was directly asked: “What really happened with the radar at Diamant? Was it broken at a time when the Saint Lucians needed it most?”

De Grasse’s response (coincidently using NEMO’s word): “The most important thing is that the radar in Martinique was definitely not broken ‘down.’ It was functioning perfectly. All of the information we make available to the other islands in the Lesser Antilles and our neighbors Saint Lucia, Dominica, Antigua and St. Vincent, all the information was totally accessible.”

Emphasizing his point, De Grasse said: “I mean totally accessible. Just this year we put in place a cooperation program with the help of the General Council in Martinique, which permits us to share all our information with the countries that I mentioned. This information is
shared on a special
website based in France and therefore not affected by any bad weather we might experience.

“All the information was accessible on Christmas Eve and during Christmas. It is the same information we used here in Martinique via our radar that also completely covers Saint Lucia. All the information was live and up to date on the website dedicated to the cooperation program that Meteo France put in place.”

De Grasse added: “Last October we held a training program in Barbados for all the Caribbean countries and Saint Lucian meteorologists were present to learn how best to use these different services. We had absolutely no problem with the radar in Martinique.”

He was asked to offer a possible explanation for NEMO’s statement. De Grasse said: “I think certain decision makers habitually use the public website of Mateo France in the Antilles. The website is based in Guadeloupe.”

He repeatedly emphasized that the system he heads was “always working and received all radar information. The weather services in Saint Lucia could’ve accessed all radar information, which is vital when dealing with this
kind of situation. They
would have had digital models which indicated the strong risk of rain for Saint Lucia, Martinique and Dominica. We followed the system with the radar.”

Meanwhile, there is much speculation here regarding the real reason NEMO “could not predict” the Christmas Eve downpour that lasted “into the early hours of December 25, 2013—and claimed at least two lives.

Doubtless, NEMO will set the record straight. After all, only one of the two sources cited can be telling the truth. Then again, the truth might well depend on what NEMO meant by “compromised.”

Or “down!”

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6 Responses to Why were Saint Lucians caught with their umbrellas down? It depends what NEMO means by ‘compromised.’

  1. Somebody needs to be fired un fortunately….we owe it to ourself …..educate yourself people….I refuse to believe that no one knew it was about to storm

  2. galanjoseph says:

    Is it the case of “The Emperor’s New Clothes?” Story goes that the emperor and everybody was made to believe that he was wearing new clothes when in fact he was naked. The fact was only realized when a child made that observation. We are fast becoming a nation of liars where the government continues to dramatize the public into believing untruths. Other nations have become like the little child in the story by exposing us. This is why there seems to be a calculated effort to discredit the foreign and local media. St. Lucians you are WARNED

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