IMD begins impact-based forecast

Full-fledged service to be introduced during northeast monsoon

Published - August 13, 2020 12:32 am IST - CHENNAI

For accuracy:The IMD will soon replace its present age-old radar with the latest X-band radar.

For accuracy:The IMD will soon replace its present age-old radar with the latest X-band radar.

In an effort to make weather prediction more relevant to people, the Meteorological Department has introduced impact-based weather forecast on an experimental basis in Chennai. The full-fledged service will be rolled out during the northeast monsoon.

With this, people of Chennai will be able to plan better during heavy rain as they will be equipped with details such as possible inundation in their areas or traffic disruption. At a later stage, more data will be integrated to forecast the impact that natural disasters may cause vulnerable areas, be it the kind of damage of a wind blowing at a particular speed or disruptions in services such as power supply, Met officials said.

It would be more of a multi-disciplinary approach and the IMD will get inputs from CFLOWS, a web-based application developed by the State government, that would help in predicting flooding in a specific location, they point out.

New radar

The department is creating a denser automatic rain gauge network by adding 25-30 ARGs in and around Chennai. The radar in the city, which has outlived its life span, is being upgraded and a new X-band radar is being installed. The increase in observational network would help in providing sector and location-specific impact, the officials said.

The department has recently increased the nowcast weather prediction service that forecasts weather for the next two or three hours to 55 stations in 37 districts.

Moreover, there are plans to reorient district rainfall average to accommodate new districts such as Chengalpattu and Kallakurichi that were recently created. This may lead to changes in average rainfall of each district and the information would be uploaded on the website from the oncoming northeast monsoon, said S. Balachandran, Deputy Director-General of Meteorology, Chennai.

Mobile-friendly website

Efforts are on to make the website more mobile-friendly and more weather information is being shared on the website. A separate link has been added to provide live weather updates for Chennai.

Various details on observations, forecasts and warnings are being uploaded station-wise, district-wise and sub-divisions and links for commonly used products are provided in the centre portion of the website, said Mr. Balachandran.

“Live observations of automatic weather stations across the country are available on the website. We provide daily weather bulletins and weekly bulletins for specific State or sub-divisions. Statistics on tracks of cyclones and depressions over Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea from 1871 onwards has been made available in cyclone track atlas free of cost to registered users. There are plans to provide weather and rainfall data of significant stations for every month,” he added.

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