The weather is a hot topic any day. And for a group of enthusiasts in the city, monitoring daily weather changes and recording their observations is nothing short of a passion.
The community of amateur meteorologists uses data from various websites, including that of the Indian Meteorological Department, studies various models to track climatic changes and forecasts weather on their blog www.keaweather.wordpress. com.
It all started with K. Ehsan Ahmed who developed an interest in weather observation when he was studying business administration in the US, a decade ago.
Mr. Ahmed now has an automatic weather station installed on the roof of his house in Nungambakkam. “My brother was gifted a weather station for his birthday. I then installed a wireless system imported from the US, with digital display of various parameters. A website was created in 2004,” he said.
The website, www.kea.metsite.com, provides live weather information, from temperature, humidity and wind speeds to rate of rainfall. The data is updated every three seconds.
The website gets the most number of visitors in June when thunderstorms begin to form over the Bay of Bengal. On an average, the website gets 500 hits daily.
Around the time Cyclone Nilam hit the Tamil Nadu coast last year, the website recorded about 40,000 hits daily.
The site is now popular among weather bloggers who read their own weather models and post updates on the movement of weather systems and predictions. Some even take a break from work to track cyclones. There are nearly 30 weather enthusiasts actively blogging on the subject today.
Pradeep John who works with Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited is among the self-taught weather buffs.
His interest grew by watching the skies and following various weather websites across the globe.
“My interest in weather monitoring grew after the cyclone near Muttukadu in 1994. I began collecting information on storms and other weather conditions. After Internet usage gained popularity, I began learning and sharing information collected,” said Mr. John.
There are just a few weather blogging sites in the country.
“Sometimes, we can track systems even before they form. When Cyclone Nilam struck last October, we were able to track the eye of the cyclone every half hour. This is a nice platform to share and learn new things about weather,” he said.
The group now has hundreds of followers on social networking sites too.