BHUBANESWAR: Perturbed over surging deaths due to lightning, the Odisha Government on Wednesday signed a pact with US-based firm Earth Networks (EN) to install lightning detection systems for early weather warning, including thunderstorm alerts.
The firm will install sensors at different locations in the State to predict lightning nearly 45 minutes in advance. The system will also be helpful in prediction of hail winds, hail storms, dangerous thunderstorms.
The MoU was signed between Earth Networks and Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA). As per the MoU, initially six sensors would be fixed. The US firm, which already has a sensor at Cuttack, will determine if additional sensors are needed to meet the performance criteria.
The EN has the expertise on providing lightning early warning services in more than 50 countries. States like West Bengal, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh also have installed similar systems in collaboration with the firm in their respective States.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Maheswar Mohanty said lightning has emerged as a major disaster these days. Though it has been declared as State-specific disaster and an ex gratia of `4 lakh is provided, the prediction system would help reduce the fatality, he said.
The Earth Networks has developed a lightning detection technology that detects a large proportion of In-cloud (IC) and Cloud-to-Ground (CG) lightning. Managing Director of OSDMA Bishnupada Sethi said once the system is in place, the highly accurate forecasts can be provided with precise location of the area which is likely to be affected.
“It will facilitate dissemination of early warning through mass massaging and mobile-based application to the people residing in those localities enabling them to take suitable precautionary measures to save their lives,” Sethi added. Annually 400 deaths are reported in the State.