HYDERABAD: How often have you made fun of the Met department’s forecast? Though more often than not, our weatherman’s predictions do come true, it appears they are not right on the money, so to speak.
Conscious of the pitfalls, the Hyderabad Meteorological Centre of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), which has a low density network of 11 manual observatories, 35 automated weather stations and 85 automated rain guage stations across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, is currently toying with the idea of joining hands with the Andhra Pradesh State Development Planning Society (APSDPS) that has over 2,000 automated weather monitoring stations (AWMS).
APSDPS is part of the AP Planning Department which is placed under the Xth Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act. It has a station at every 100 sq km.
“The State has weather-related information available, probably, for every mandal but we do not use this data. However, we are willing to use these services provided the network is upgraded to IMD standards,” said YK Reddy, Director, Hyderabad Met Centre.
Of the 11 manual observatories with the Met Centre only three - Hyderabad, Nizamabad and Ramagundam - are directly maintained by it. The remaining at Hakimpet, Adilabad, Hanamkonda, Medak, Mahbubnagar, Khammam, Bhadrachalam, and Nalgonda are operated by different departments like irrigation, agriculture, Central Water Commission and the Indian Air Force among others and a monthly honorarium is paid to them for the same.
At present, they send a message on weather data every morning to the headquarters instead of providing real-time data. “Certain characteristics like cloud types, cloud amounts, height of clouds, and visibility etc cannot be measured by the AWMS as, such technology is still very expensive for us,” Reddy said, explaining why manual observatories are important in the age of advanced technologies.
The APSDPS, at present, operates AWMS installed in every electrical sub-station across the two States. When contacted, PV Ramana Murthy, deputy executive engineer, APSDPS, said the systematic archival of data they do is intended for future planning and analysis. “The recent trends of spatial variation in rainfall activity requires a dense network of weather monitoring stations. We are not only recording the data but also sending automatic alerts to district officials in case any threshold values are crossed,” he said.
Citing an example, he said, “Once we recorded 58 cm rainfall at a particular station in Wazeedu Nagaram in Khammam district, which is 80 per cent of the annual rainfall. The nearby stations did not record such heavy rainfall. “We thought we got it wrong. But such torrential rains do happen.”
According to him, they are able to check variation in weather within each station limits too by using GIS technology.