Not possible to predict movement of low pressure system: IMD

The Indian Meteorological Department could not accurately forecast that coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh would experience torrential rains, triggered by a low pressure system, after cyclone ‘Nilam’ petered out on November 1. Its inability to caution the government caught the administration completely off guard about the impending disaster.

It was just on November 1 that the government heaved a sigh of relief after ‘Nilam’ spared the State of massive damage after its landfall near Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu the previous day. But it was completely unaware of the fact that a low pressure system was developing and would soon unleash its fury in the form of torrential rains in the north coastal Andhra from November 2.

In fact, the State did not suffer much damage on account of ‘Nilam’. On the other hand, the heavy rain in Nellore, Prakasam Chittoor districts actually benefited the State, said Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy after a high-level review meeting convened by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy here on Monday.

What did Andhra Pradesh in was heavy rain with unexpected fury from November 2 to 4 in East and West Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam, Guntur, Krishna, Khammam and parts of Prakasam. “The government had been monitoring the relief operations due to ‘Nilam’, but the IMD did not alert us about the severe impact of the low pressure system that developed after the cyclone dissipated,” Mr. Raghuveera Reddy added.

Meanwhile, Met Department officials here said it was not possible to predict movement of low pressure system accurately. “We can do it for a cyclone but not for a low pressure system. The system can be monitored for about one or two days, but it is not possible to predict how fast or slow the system will move,” Mr. Sudhakar Rao, Director, Met Centre, Hyderabad, said.

IMD officials also expressed at a meeting convened by the Chief Minister their helplessness in making forecasts about rainfall during North-East monsoon indicating the course, timing and target areas. Mr. Kiran Reddy made no secret of his displeasure saying that the people would have braced themselves fully had the IMD provided proper forecast.