Sierra Leone: Meteorological Department Faces Logistical Constraints

By Stephen V. Lansana

Meteorological Department is one of neglected government institutions in the country which is faced numerous challenges.

The Acting Director of Meteorological Department, Ibrahim S. Kamara said the department needs Medical Weather Production models, radar and human resource to enhance efficiency.

Kamara told Premier News in an interview on Tuesday May 9, that there are three main important things in doing weather forecast which are universal: The place; intensity like heavy, moderate and light; and the time of a particular weather. “We can provide a weather forecast of a particular place and time, but we cannot tell the intensity when it will happen because we don’t have the required instrument,” he said, adding that radar will help to provide the intensity.

He explained that Sierra Leone, together with other African countries usually hold a regional conference on weather forecast where they will discuss thoroughly on the subject and bring out a seasonal forecast for each country, adding that this year’s regional conference will be held in Ghana on May 15 this year.

He added that he will bring out the outlook of the weather for this year after the conference in Ghana because it involves expert knowledge.

He said a seasonal forecast involves a lot of things, which includes but not limited to ocean buoys, radar and many others.

“As a country, we are not matured up to the level of making a seasonal forecast because we don’t have the kind instruments that we need,” he said, citing that in developed countries, they have well developed systems like Medical Weather Production (MWP) model.

He said that agriculturists need to know the weather condition that is favorable for planting.

He said that they need the support of international partners to providing information about the global weather.

He disclosed that they presently have eight automatic weather stations across the country. He said data from the stations are published online, and that an authorized user will be in any part of the world and access the information.

He added that as the system collects the information, it will send it directly online.

Kamara pointed out that the need staff in each of the weather stations in the country, adding that the department is highly technical, so it needs staffs that have the expertise.

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He said the department is not just limited to providing weather forecast in the country. But it also deals with other issues that contribute to national development, adding that they also provide data for the road construction companies, because the temperature in the country is different from those in other part of the world.