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Airport authority concerned over failing website

The Bermuda Airport Authority said yesterday that it had “deep concerns” that a website designed to highlight vital weather information failed at the height of Hurricane Paulette.

Regular updates were halted on the Bermuda Weather Service website as Paulette battered Bermuda on Monday.

Lester Nelson, the chief executive of the authority, which monitors the BWS, said: “While we are planning to replace ageing technology, this challenge could not have come at a worse time.”

The website was restored yesterday, but meteorologists were forced to use social media to deliver updates to the public as the storm hit the island.

Mr Nelson said: “We are deeply concerned about the failure of the BWS website during this most critical period in hurricane season. We are working with our technicians and service providers to try to stabilise the website.

“We implemented our redundancy plan and used back-up communication distribution channels, such as our Facebook page, to share important weather information with the public. We will continue to build on this.”

Mr Nelson said the authority had inherited ageing technology when it took over BWS from an overseas operator last April.

He added: “We upgraded the Doppler weather radar system in July 2019, which, along with increasing the scope of weather data, is putting a strain on the ageing website platform.

“Over the past several months, we have been assessing the BWS's technology needs as part of a strategic review and in the months ahead we will be finalising our plans to rebuild and replace ageing technology.”

The outage on Monday was caused at first by external problems that involved the fibre cable and internet service.

But the website was still not restored even after the failure was fixed.

Hurricane Teddy was predicted to continue its approach to Bermuda this weekend and could come near the island on Monday.

Mr Nelson said: “At the moment, the BWS site is live again but, as we look at the needs of next week we are concerned, and are putting into place additional redundancies so that BWS can share critical weather updates.”

Updates are expected to be posted on weather.bm and the BWS Facebook page, as well as through the Emergency Measures Organisation and its radio station, 100.1MHz.

Mr Nelson added: “This is a very unfortunate situation, particularly given the professionalism of the BWS team, who are highly qualified and work extremely hard to provide timely forecasts and information. We appreciate their efforts.

“We also want to thank Bermuda for the feedback we receive, and the community's patience as we try to provide the best service we can, given this present difficulty.”

Lester Nelson, the chief executive of the Bermuda Airport Authority (File photograph)

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Published September 17, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated September 17, 2020 at 9:27 am)

Airport authority concerned over failing website

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