Sufficient warning was given: IMD

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had provided sufficient warning to the State regarding heavy rainfall activity, IMD director general Mrutyunjay Mohapatra has said.

The weather agency had issued orange alerts for heavy to very heavy rainfall five days in advance. Orange-level alerts were upgraded to ‘red’ on October 16, when the rainfall activity peaked, Dr. Mohapatra said.

“District-level warnings were issued by the Meteorological Centre there (Thiruvananthapuram). IMD Headquarters was providing the subdivision-level warnings,”' he said, adding that Nowcast warnings, for every three hours, were being issued as well.

Short, intense spells such as the ones reported in parts of the State on October 16 cannot be predicted three or five days in advance. Nowcast warnings are issued for this purpose, according to him.

Dr. Mohapatra said weather forecasting has improved significantly over the past decade, but there is always scope for improvement.

“It is an ongoing process. The IMD and the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) are trying to improve it. We are now able to provide district-level alerts, which are also impact-based warnings, three to five days in advance for heavy rainfall. We have reached that stage now. That was not there 10 years ago,”' he pointed out.

Overall, there is an increase in the number of days with very heavy rainfall activity. “And this is not a phenomenon restricted to India,” he said.

The term ‘mini-cloud burst’ (5 cm of rainfall in two consecutive hours) which has been widely used in connection with the October 16 rainfall in Kerala, is not part of the IMD glossary, Dr. Mohapatra noted.

IMD defines ‘cloud bursts’ as rainfall events of 10 cm in one hour reported by a station. Such weather events, he noted, are more frequent in the Himalayan foothill regions.

The COVID-19 pandemic had caused the delay in deploying more Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) in Kerala, he said.

“We have issued the supply order,” he said.

After the 2018 floods, Kerala had criticised the IMD for inadequate weather forecasting infrastructure. Although the IMD subsequently announced that 100 AWS would be set up, the work is yet to be completed.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2021 7:03:16 PM |

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