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Weather service hit by internet glitch

Internet connection problems caused a breakdown for the Bermuda Weather Service as Hurricane Paulette hit Bermuda, it was revealed yesterday.

Regular updates on the BWS website halted early on Monday morning as the storm began to batter the island.

But Mark Guishard, the director of the BWS, said yesterday that the meteorologists used social media instead to deliver regular updates to the public.

Dr Guishard said: “The flow of data getting out to www.weather.bm stopped temporarily and outdated information was being displayed.

“Our back-up plan was to post regular forecast bulletins to our Facebook page. The Bermuda Airport Authority worked with our telecommunications partners to troubleshoot the outage.”

He added that internet service had now been restored.

Dr Guishard said forecasts for Hurricane Paulette had been accurate — and that the BWS had increased collaboration with the US-based National Hurricane Centre throughout the storm.

He added: “I was particularly happy that NHC was able to use the data our meteorologists sent them during the storm to increase the frequency of their position and intensity updates on Paulette.

“This data included doppler weather radar imagery, pressure and winds speeds from our airfield weather observing system and even atmospheric measurements from extra weather balloon launches that our meteorological technicians were able to make during the storm — including within the eye.

“Our team did an excellent job of diligently monitoring the storm 24/7 through the event, despite the communications challenges, and I would like to say a public thank-you to them for their hard work.”

Dr Guishard also thanked the public for their feedback.

He added: “We are exploring ways to introduce additional technical redundancies to minimise the downtime of our critical public safety information in the future.”

David Burt, the Premier, said earlier that the BWS weather radar had stayed in operation throughout the storm, but the internet problems had affected its ability to send out information.

Mr Burt added: “What went down was their external internet connectivity so they weren't able to get the information out or get the information to their website.

“They were able to send images by phone and they were shared by the Department of Communication and Information and others, so the radar itself didn't go down and it still assisted.

“There are a few things we need to tidy up on. Not everything is perfect. There were some communications issues during the storm but we are going to make sure that we tidy those up so the next time around they will be fixed.”

Mark Guishard, the director of the Bermuda Weather Service (Photograph supplied)

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Published September 16, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated September 16, 2020 at 7:56 am)

Weather service hit by internet glitch

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