(L-R) Governor David Pearcy, Caribbean Tsunami Program Mgr. Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, NWS Southern Region Director Bill Proenza and WCM Rafael Mojica, San Juan, P.R. forecast office (Photo: DDM)
(May 26, 2010) - Bill Proenza, regional director of the National Weather Service Southern Region; Christa von Hillebrandt-Andrade, manager of the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program; and, Rafael Mojica, warning coordination meteorologist for the forecast office in San Juan, Puerto Rico traveled to the British Virgin Islands on May 20 to promote the tsunami program.
The team met with Governor David Pearcy and staff members from the Islands' Department of Disaster Management (DDM). The primary goal was to promote understanding and cooperation between the DDM and the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program as part of an effort to enhance tsunami and earthquake preparedness throughout the Caribbean. Additional talks, aimed at a formal agreement between the National Weather Service and the DDM, are anticipated.
The meeting was held in the British Islands' capital city of Road Town, Tortola. While there, Proenza and the team also made a presentation to the Rotary Club of Tortola highlighting tsunami risks in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean region is one of the most seismically active regions in the world with a huge potential for death and destruction as evidenced by the recent earthquake in Haiti. Almost 100 tsunamis have struck the shores of the Caribbean nations over the past 500 years, with the most recent deadly tsunami generated by the earthquake in Haiti.
Governor Pearcy also presented an Award of Appreciation to Crista von Hillebrandt-Andrade for years of service in support of the Virgin Islands' Disaster Management Programme. Prior to joining the National Weather Service this year, she served as Director of the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (1994-2010), located at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.
A part of the National Weather Service Southern Region, the Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program operates in partnership with the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center at Ewa Beach in Oahu, Hawaii and the Alaska Tsunami Warning Center in Palmer, Alaska. It is a key participant in the NOAA National Weather Service Caribbean Tsunami Warning Program.