Lightning strikes can be forecast now
Finally, man can even predict lightning! In a remarkable invention that is likely to save thousands of lives across the country, Andhra Pradesh has come out with a system with which lightning can be forecast well in advance. And the invention is paying off.
The state was in fact able to save a lot many lives in the premonsoon season this year by predicting in the final two weeks of May about possible lightning strikes in the villages of Anantpur and Chittoor. This is quite a proactive measure, considering in the year 2015 alone, Andhra had had 75 casualties due to lightning strikes.
The system has been developed by the AP'S State Disaster mitigation Society that works in conjunction with the Department of Revenue and Relief. They have come out with this one-of-its-kind forewarning device with the help of the ISRO and Earth Networks, a US based technology firm that has 1200 sensors in 40 countries. this firm is active weather monitoring across the globe. The AP government has provided all the funds and support for the state
organisations' tie up with ISRO and Earth Networks.
In May again, the AP administration was able to issue a major alert half an hour before lightning struck on 16 May in Kuppam and Palamaner blocks in the state's southern most corner. No loss of life was reported because of the forewarning. Villagers in Gummagatta also escaped unhurt the next day despite a major lightning strike as the authorities had alerted them in advance.
The government is now considering developing an app based on the system so that people in far off areas too can be alerted on an urgent basis ahead of a possible calamity. Fourteen sensors have already been set up in Kuppam, Anantapur, Kurnool, Kadapa, Srikakulam and Visakhapatnam which are in the danger prone zone for lightning strikes.
The sensors are set up in high rise towers in areas that are in the danger prone zone and these sensors detect the nature of the clouds' electromagnetic activity. the data is then fed to the control command system in the head office where meteorological department officials analyse it and issue warnings.
It has been found that with the use of this system 90% accurate predictions can be made.