The Planning Commission has cleared a proposal to put eight state-of-the-art Doppler radars in the three Western Himalayan states to improve extreme weather forecast.
With this, the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ plan to create a network of 15 Doppler radars in the entire 10 Himalayan states, following Uttarakhand flash floods that left hundreds dead and thousands homeless in June last, has half realised.
“The Planning Commission has cleared the proposal to put eight Doppler radars in Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir,” said a senior ministry official.
In Uttarakhand, the radars are expected to be placed in the Dehradun, Nainital and Joshimath areas, while in Himachal Pradesh they would be placed at Dharamshala, Manali and Dalhousie. Jammu and Leh would get two radars in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We hope that weather forecast for extreme weather events will improve with Doppler radars in place. It doesn’t mean that we can predict any extreme weather event days ahead. But it will be possible some hours before and that can save a lot of lives,” the official said.
Keeping in mind the hilly terrain, the MoES would put X-band Doppler radars, with a covering range of 50-100 km against the usual C/S band Doppler radars with a range of 400-500 km.
“The cost of each Doppler radar will vary depending upon the specifications and requirements of the respective states,” the official said.
Doppler radars are capable of predicting severe thunderstorms, enabling warnings to be quickly issued. They can also generate accurate data on wind changes and rain clouds.