Met Office moves to new colour-coded early warning system

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) is implementing a new colour-coded Early Warning System (EWS) for weather-related hazards in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Met Services says the new, risk-based system will become effective from Monday April 16th 2018.

The new system will comply with the World Meteorological Organization’s international standards for effective early warnings.

The structure of the warnings conforms to the format of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), an international standard for emergency alerting and public warning.

The TTMS says it will no longer be issuing bulletins.

Early Warning Messages will now be issued as ‘Public Warning Messages’, which will take the form of ‘Alerts’, ‘Watches’ or ‘Warnings’ based on the amount of time between the current time and the expected time of impact.

Alerts will have the longest lead time, while Warnings will have the shortest lead time.

Early Warning Messages will be issued for hydro-meteorological hazards such as Severe Weather, Thundershowers, Flooding, Dry Spells/Droughts, Extreme [High] Temperatures, and Hazardous Seas, in addition to already established notifications for Tropical Cyclones (Depressions, Storms, and Hurricanes).

These hazards are continuously monitored by the TTMS.

Public Warning Messages will contain indicators for the urgency (time available to prepare), certainty (probability of occurrence) and severity (intensity of impact).

The risk posed to Trinidad and Tobago is determined by combining the certainty and severity of the hazard’s impacts.

The risk level will be communicated using a colour scheme of Yellow-Orange-Red to indicate Moderate-High-Very High risk respectively.

Other features of the CAP-compliant messages include: validity time, response type, description of the hazard event, instructions for appropriate response by message recipients and area description.

"As we continue to face challenges associated with climate variability and climate change, the TTMS acknowledges the obvious need to enhance its early warning service. This new system aims to markedly improve the country’s Early Warning System in order to strengthen resilience, reduce vulnerability and minimize loss and damages associated with adverse weather and climate events. All stakeholders are urged to work along with the TTMS to ensure the successful implementation of the new early warning system," the TTMS statement said.

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