Remember the Uttarakhand floods in 2013 and the Jammu and Kashmir floods in 2014 that had caused large scale destruction to life and property? Over 1000 people had died in Uttarakhand alone, while close to 300 had lost their lives in Jammu and Kashmir. Had our forecasting been more modern and accurate the state governments could have been better prepared for eventualities and the death toll could have been curtailed.
Almost two years down the line, the ministry of earth sciences has planned to invest over Rs 400 crore to expand weather stations across the hill states, which are prone to natural calamities like floods, cloudbursts, landslides etc.
The budget will help the government to set up nine Doppler radars, 20 micro rain radars and over 230 Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) across the country. This will help in forecasting extreme weather like torrential rain and flash floods.
Hi-Tech Doppler radars will especially be installed to improve forecast for hill states of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh by plugging the gaps in observations. The Doppler radars have an area coverage of 100 km in which it will precisely be able to judge the amount and type of precipitation. Once the radar becomes operational, the met department will be able to forecast accurate weather up to a maximum of six hours.
The met department, in association with the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology-Pune, is also planning to extend the rain forecast period to about three weeks to help farmers plan the irrigation cycle for crops.
Speaking to Economic Times, AK Sahai, chief project scientist-extended range prediction at IITM-Pune also said that the Indian meteorology department will share weather forecast for 20 days now instead of the usual seven days during the monsoon.