Met office denies its prediction was off the mark

HYDERABAD, SEPT. 2. The forecast about heavy rain in the State on August 23 and 24, issued by the Hyderabad Meteorological Centre (HMC), proved to be correct and there was no inadequacy in the prediction, says Mr C. V. V. Bhadram, Director of Met Office here.

It may be recalled that a controversy arose over the forecast with the Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, terming it inadequate because the forecast did not warn of a heavy rainfall of 24 cm in one day for Hyderabad city. Without joining the issue, Mr Bhadram recalls the forecast issued for the City, valid for 24 hours up to 8.30 a.m. on August 24, which predicted ``heavy falls in some parts of Hyderabad.'' By 8.30 a.m. on August 24, the rainfall realised at some places in the State and at the Capital was around 20-25 cm on an average.

City in meteorologists' language includes Hyderabad and its neighbourhood, including Ranga Reddy district, and the realisation in this area was 25 cm at Dundigal, 24.15 cm at Hyderabad, 17.7 cm at Hakimpet airport, 16.4 cm at Vikarabad and 11.4 cm at Tandur.

While speaking to The Hindu here on Saturday, Mr Bhadram contends that he used word ``will'' and not ``may'' in the forecast while referring to the occurrence of heavy falls here. For the rest of Telangana and the aforesaid seven districts, he indicated the ``likeliness'' depending on some parameters. It appeared that the Government did not understand the full import of the forecasts perhaps due to some ``communication gap,'' he felt.

If ``very heavy rain'' is forecast, it means rainfall will be 13 cm and above. Similarly, ``heavy rain'' implies 7 cm to 12 cm, ``rather heavy rain'' 4 cm to 7 cm, ``moderate rain'' up to 3 cm and ``light rain'' up to 1 cm. Also, if it is predicted that there will be rain at a ``few places,'' it means that 26-50 per cent of the areas specified are covered. The word ``many places'' is used in the forecast to indicate the likely coverage of an area by rain to the extent of 51-75 per cent. If the coverage is 76 to 100 per cent, the word is replaced with ``most places.'' An isolated rainfall predicted indicates the coverage up to 25 per cent in an area which, in fact, simply means rain at one or two places, Mr Bhadram states. This way, the Government should have understood that the rainfall would be 7 cm to 13 cm and above covering the State.

The HMC will be in a better position to predict the presence of impending threats in the sea like cyclones together with their timing, speed and the correct path, once Doppler radars are installed at Visakhapatnam and Machilipatnam in the State as planned under the World Bank-aided Hazard Mitigation Scheme. The Dopplers are capable of measuring even the velocity and direction of winds within a cyclonic phenomenon even if it is present more than 400 km off the coast.

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