The installation of automatic rain gauges — significant in weather observation and forecasting — has hit a roadblock in the State.

Owing to a delay in sanctioning funds from the Centre, the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai is facing hiccups in installing the equipment. Fitted with sensors, the gauge will help to measure rainfall, humidity and temperature.

Of the 75 rain gauges to be installed across the State, only 40, including 10 in the city’s fringes, have been set up so far.

In a bid to improve weather monitoring and obtain accurate data, the meteorological (Met) department proposes to set up a network with at least two automatic rain gauges in every district.

Once this is completed, the department wishes to set up two more automatic weather stations and four additional automatic rain gauges in every district in the State.

It is imperative to install the rain gauges as the extent of cloud cover differs in various areas and the network will help better understand weather conditions, a Met official said.

The project, mooted in 2007, was expected to be completed last year. However, funds have been in short supply. Each rain gauge costs nearly Rs. 3 lakh.

After the installation of the 40 rain gauges across the State, the department has been able to assess spatial variability in weather condition. The data is now partially incorporated in daily weather reports.

The department is taking steps to use information from all the installed rain gauges.

Meanwhile, several government agencies and educational institutions have approached the Met department to install automatic rain gauges in their premises so as to use weather data for academic purposes.

The Public Works Department and Adyar Poonga are among the government agencies that wish to set up the equipment. “We want to increase the number of rain gauges in the city to 25. We have received applications from several institutions. But, not all qualify for it. The site where the gauge is installed must be free of tall structures as otherwise wind gets blocked,” the Met official said.