City to get 200 rain gauges, app to get real-time alerts

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES CITY -

In­dian In­sti­tute of Trop­i­cal Me­te­o­rol­ogy (IITM), Pune, with the help of In­dia Me­te­o­rol­ogy Depart­ment (IMD) and Bri­han­mum­bai Mu­nic­i­pal Cor­po­ra­tion (BMC), is in­stalling a new dense rain gauge net­work over the city with 200 in­stru­ments. “This fa­cil­ity will help the city ad­min­is­tra­tion and gen­eral pub­lic know the pre­vail­ing rain­fall sit­u­a­tion in the city on real-time ba­sis. A mo­bile app for this pur­pose has al­ready been de­vel­oped,” said Harsh Vard­han, Union min­is­ter of earth sciences.

Mum­bai is known for flood­ing dur­ing heavy rains. The city cur­rently has around 60 au­to­mated weather sta­tions in­stalled at civic wards, civic hos­pi­tals and fire sta­tions.

In a re­lated de­vel­op­ment, the Cen­tre will launch an endto-end sys­tem by April for pre­dict­ing thun­der­storms and light­ning across the coun­try.

Pre­dic­tion tools for this pur­pose are also be­ing de­vel­oped by IITM and IMD in the back­drop of last year’s pre­mon­soon episodes of thun­der­storms and very high wind BMC has around 60 au­to­mated weather sta­tions (AWS) that pro­vide re­al­time data about weather con­di­tions, like rain­fall in a par­tic­u­lar area, tem­per­a­ture, wind speed and hu­mid­ity per­cent­age This de­vice is a tip­ping bucket gauge in which one drop is equiv­a­lent to 0.25mm

AWS were in­stalled in civic ward of­fices, civic hos­pi­tals and at fire sta­tions fol­low­ing rec­om­men­da­tions of the Chi­tale com­mit­tee af­ter the 2005 del­uge, when the city recorded 944mm rain­fall speed-led dust storms that claimed over 200 lives in dif­fer­ent north In­dian states.

Vard­han said IITM had al­ready in­stalled 48 light­ning sen­sors across the coun­try which could lo­cate thun­der­storm/light­ning ac­tiv­i­ties on real time.

IITM has also de­vel­oped a mo­bile app called ‘DAMINI’ to give alerts on im­pend­ing light- ning ac­tiv­ity. The app is avail­able on Google Play Store.

These moves are part of mul­ti­ple on­go­ing ac­tiv­i­ties un­der­taken by the min­istry of earth sciences to dis­sem­i­nate fore­casts and warn­ings on real time and more ef­fec­tively to users, in­clud­ing farm­ers and city dwellers, through a new web­site and mo­bile apps. These apps will be ready for launch by June. Be­sides, IMD has planned to strengthen its ‘ob­ser­va­tional net­work’ by the end of this year through in­stal­la­tion of so­phis­ti­cated radars over north-west Hi­malayas (J&K, Hi­machal Pradesh and Ut­tarak­hand).

“In ad­di­tion, IMD is in­stalling 200 au­to­mated weather sta­tions (AWS) at dis­trict Agromet units for pro­vid­ing weather ser­vices to farm­ers. An­other 200 AWS will be in­stalled over ma­jor cities and towns for pro­vid­ing city spe­cific weather in­for­ma­tion and fore­casts,” said the min­is­ter. All these ob­ser­va­to­ries are ex­pected to be es­tab­lished by 2020-end. So­phis­ti­cated radars will also be in­stalled over An­daman & Ni­co­bar Is­lands and Lak­shad­weep Is­lands by 2020.

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