Weather service technology ‘not up to the job’
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. – ANA