The Cuban net that comprises 8 weather radars all over the country represents a stronghold before meteorological phenomena. The recent rains tested once again the staff of San Juan Peak weather station. The Guamuhaya mountains remain unusually hidden.
The rains provoked by the vast low pressure area that went through the island made impenetrable this mountain range in the central region of Cuba. According to the experts these rains favor the reservoirs, currently at 65% of their capacity and the underground bowls as well; but the continuity of these rains interrupts access to communities like El Nicho, El Naranjo and Hoyo de Padilla, among the most populated.
With this panorama, the National Weather forecast Center (Spanish acronym CNP) receives, every 15 minutes, meteorological information from the highest point in the island: San Juan Peak Radar Station.
With the aim of deepening in the labor of its operators we started the ascension. The habitual hazards of such trip add now excessive humidity to the narrow and very irregular roads. The water accumulated formed a pond in which our jeeps almost sank while crossing it.
After climbing 244 stair steps we finally reached the height of 1 140 meters over sea level and the warm welcome calms the exhaustion of the climb. Specialists of over 20 years of experience start detailed information of the atmospheric conditions.
Radar operator Oniel Díaz de Villega explains that “… this is precisely the best positioned radar in Cuba. Due to its location in the highest point of the mountain range and the lack of surrounding obstacles it has the higher power of resolution to detect meteorological objects”.
San Juan Peak radar reaches 500 kilometers. Its modernization process in 2006 enabled the transmission of atmosphere images in real time and increased effectiveness.
Its 12 workers, among them 6 radar operators, hold their positions the whole year. The Chief of the station and main operator , Leonardo Osmany León Cabrera, assures that besides the readings of the radar images and sending information to the CNP, “… my staff does all sort of tasks: taking care of backup generators, reading pluviometers for rain measuring, pumping water from a kilometer away, etc. “
As we wait, we feel colder and get the certainty that there will be no clear day beyond the nearest borders. Then we star the descent.
We will have to go as slow as during the ascension. Rain and mist will remain according to the experts but they will be there as effective guardians before climatic phenomena at San Juan Peak radar station: weather guardians.