Kerala to get weather inputs from private agencies during the 2021 southwest monsoon season as well

People affect by flooding along Kerala’s Chellanam coast leaving their houses for safer places on Friday. Kerala will continue to get weather inputs from private weather agencies during the upcoming southwest monsoon season.   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

Kerala will continue to get weather inputs from private weather agencies during the upcoming southwest monsoon season.

Last year, terming the inputs from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) inadequate, the State government had permitted the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) under the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) to access inputs from private players in addition to the IMD forecasts.

Weather-related inputs from Skymet Weather Services, IBM’s Weather Company and Earth Networks will be available till October this year as per the agreements. The KSDMA has been sourcing data from Skymet’s network of Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in the State, lightning-related info from Earth Networks and forecast inputs from the IBM Weather Company, an official said.

The State Government has set up a committee for an evaluation of the inputs and to see whether the tie-ups should be continued after October. The southwest monsoon season in Kerala lasts from June 1 to September 30.

The State has been clamouring for more comprehensive weather forecasts in the wake of the devastating floods in 2018 and 2019. Following criticism from the State, the IMD had announced plans to establish 100 new automatic weather stations (AWS) by the end of 2020. But this target is yet to be achieved, reportedly due to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the sites were identified. The IMD had managed to deploy 15 new AWS by June last year, but the pandemic slowed down the work on the remaining devices, an official said.

The national weather agency currently has 30 AWS, 29 automatic range gauges (ARG) and 69 manual rain gauges in the State.

On the other hand, the IMD has introduced several new measures to improve localised forecasts in Kerala. It introduced impact-based forecasts for Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi cities and block-level forecasts at the State level. Earlier this week, a Flood Meteorological Office started functioning at the IMD Meteorological Centre in Thiruvananthapuram for supporting flood monitoring activities of the Central Water Commission.

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Printable version | Jun 14, 2021 2:39:10 PM |

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