Online facility will provide details of weather on State roads connecting 13 important destinations, and some Puducherry highways

The next time you plan a long trip that will take you through the State’s highways, you can ensure there are no disruptions to your travel due to bad weather.

The meteorological department has recently introduced an online service ‘Highway Forecast’, which provides details of the weather on highways connecting 13 important destinations in the State, including Chennai, Kodaikanal and Nagapattinam. Highways of Puducherry will also be covered under the service.

The service, available on www.imdchennai.gov.in, will have details of the forecast for the next 24 hours, including maximum and minimum temperature and the possibility of thundershowers or heavy rains.

This type of user-specific weather services is offered by meteorological departments in other countries, including UK and USA. Some private online weather service providers give details for travel-related weather forecast on even an hourly basis or for 15 days.

S.R. Ramanan, director of area cyclone warning centre, said the new service would also help to plan trips by taking into consideration the prevailing weather conditions at their destination.

“We have developed this service with the data available in the weather stations in these locations. We will add more features and places depending on the patronage,” he said.

More, better services

As part of its efforts to upgrade its website and be more user-friendly, the department is in the process of adding more features.

“We have digitised the data on thunderstorms and cyclones. This would be useful for people to check details of thunderstorms in their region and the rainfall received,” said an official.

Statistics on cyclones as well as depressions over Indian seas have also been digitised and have been made available as ‘cyclone e-atlas’. “Earlier, we had to check the old records for any data on cyclones. People can now check the movement of cyclones and specific details by accessing the link of the cyclone warning and research centre,” an official said.

The department plans to add analysis related to winds during tropical cyclones soon. There are also plans to add more tailor-made user services such as venue-specific forecasts.

Mobile service delayed

The launch of mobile weather alert services through text messages is being delayed in the city as the meteorological department is finalising some of the aspects such as the number of weather parameters to be covered and whether it would be a paid or free service.

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