Weather ser­vice tech­nol­ogy ‘not up to the job’

The Citizen (Gauteng) - - NEWS - – ANA

The South African Weather Ser­vice (Saws) yes­ter­day said its tech­nol­ogy failed it dur­ing the re­cent spate of se­vere weather, which has left a trail of de­struc­tion and fa­tal­i­ties.

“The in­for­ma­tion we pro­vide only has use when it is re­ceived timeously, in ad­vance and acted on prior to the ar­rival of an event. Need­less to say, those that are re- quired to re­spond to the event [the se­vere weather] also re­quire that in­for­ma­tion so we are re­quired to pro­vide re­li­able ser­vices dur­ing an event, and to pro­vide a ser­vice post the event,” Saws chief ex­ec­u­tive Jerry Len­goasa said.

“It is, there­fore, crit­i­cal that our in­fra­struc­ture is re­silient to these se­vere events. The events of this week have also pro­vided us an op­por­tu­nity to re­flect as an in­sti­tu­tion on where we may or may not have failed.”

Len­goasa said some of the equip­ment was not up to the task.

“While the au­to­matic weather sta­tions, our au­to­matic rain gauge net­works, our up­per air sound­ing sta­tions and our light­ning de­tec­tion net­works were fully func­tional dur­ing the storm, sadly, of the five radar sys­tems that we re­quired to be active and up, only one was fully func­tional.

“The sec­ond ... had reg­u­lar trans­mis­sion faults.”

Saws is a tech­ni­cal, sci­en­tific and ser­vice-ori­en­tated en­tity of the state, with a re­spon­si­bil­ity to reach the 57 mil­lion South Africans ev­ery day with life- and limb­sav­ing in­for­ma­tion.

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