DARAJA: New weather resilience forecasts and weather impact statements developed in Jamaica with BReTCAT support
Photo: Meteorological Service of Jamaica duty forecaster Carolyn Peck prepares a forecast bulletin at the National Meteorological Centre at Norman Manley Airport, Kingston, Jamaica
To coincide with the UN’s International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) on the 13th October 2022, and its focus to “substantially increase the availability of and access to multi-hazard early warning systems to people by 2030″, Resurgence points to a recent breakthrough in its work with partners under its BReTCAT initiative in Jamaica.
On the 2nd September 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica, representatives from stakeholder organisations (public safety, essential services, farming, fisheries, transport and the media) came together with representatives of communities vulnerable to high impact weather conditions and the Meteorological Service of Jamaica to co-design new weather impact messages for the public. This co-design workshop was in a *BReTCAT co-design workshop facilitated by Resurgence, MSJ, the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
The BReTCAT project was inspired by DARAJA and co-funded by The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative.
A total of 59 weather impact statements and related advice messages were proposed by the 22 stakeholder participants at the workshop in Kingston. They were subsequently refined and approved jointly by MSJ and ODPEM.
The advice messages are all simple, straightforward and generic in nature. The met service will use them as part of future weather warnings to help explain the likely impact of severe weather that has been forecast and help people to stay safe.
ODPEM may supplement these messages with more detailed advice relating to particular places and communities before or during each high impact weather event.
After the workshop, Resurgence edited the full set of proposed impact statements into a single list which was reviewed and further amended by a joint meeting of senior staff from MSJ and ODPEM on September 12th.
Once the messages have been formally approved by MSJ and ODPEM, MSJ will systematically use the new impact statements and advice messages in its new five-day Multi-Hazard Early Warning Service (MHEWS) forecast and in weather warnings issued through its new smartphone weather app.
The workshop participants were asked to recommend the colour-coded warning levels (yellow, amber or red) with which each message should be used.
The 5-day MHEWS forecast and the Jamaica weather app will use the following four colour codes to categorise forecast weather conditions in each of the country’s 14 parishes (local government administrative districts):
Before the review work began, the participants were asked to consider whether or not the weather impact statements should be accompanied by messages of advice to help the Jamaican public decide what action to take. They decided unanimously that the advice messages would be useful.
Photos taken from the BReTCAT co-design workshop held in Kingston, Jamaica in September 2022.
Examples of the New Weather Impact Statements
The warning colours attributed to each statement indicate the levels of warning at which it may be used. Two examples of weather impact statements and related advice messages are shown below.
Message appropriate for use with yellow, amber and red warnings:
“People will sweat a lot and become dehydrated quickly. Drink plenty of water. Stay in a cool environment.”
Message appropriate with yellow, amber and red warnings:
“Rivers and drainage channels may burst their banks and flood surrounding areas of dry land. Stay away from all flood water.”
This co-design workshop was organised by the Building Resilience Through Climate Adaptation Technologies (*BReTCAT) Project, a partnership between MSJ, Resurgence, CCIC and the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI).
*BReTCAT – Resurgence and its partners, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ), the Caribbean Climate Innovation Center (CCIC), The Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and the University of the West Indies, created the Building Resilience Through Climate Adaptation Technologies (BReTCAT) Project in Jamaica.
Resurgence is a key partner in BReTCAT where its DARAJA principles, developed to enhance the resilience of large cities to weather and climate, are being applied for the first time to a small island developing state.
Resurgence is facilitating the involvement of forecast users and vulnerable communities in Jamaica in the co-design of improved weather forecasts for this Caribbean island of nearly three million people. It is also helping the Meteorological Service of Jamaica to create and launch a smartphone weather app. This will use a technology platform developed by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI) and will be launched in the second half of 2022.
Beyond being a pilot for the DARAJA model for small island development states (SIDS) Caribbean, BReTCAT will also generate learnings on people-centred early warning approaches for the Caribbean Project of the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) Initiative.
Photo: New BRETCAT-assisted marine forecast on the SmartMet workstation at the National Meteorological Centre (forecasting office) at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport, Jamaica.
Find out more on DARAJA
✍️ If you are interested in partnering with us, or want to know more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org