KOCHI: Stating that the India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) forecasts are “not very accurate”, Kerala has written to the Central Government to allow the IMD to set up another 188 rain gauges in the state as against the required 256, which is acting as a major inadequacy, impeding disaster management activities in the state.
In a letter to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, the state government stated the IMD has only a “few automated rain gauges in Kerala and it gathers daily rain data from just about 68 stations in Kerala. Temperature observations are provided only from just seven observatories, which is highly inadequate”.
According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, the IMD, being the nodal department, should have at least 256 rain gauge stations in Kerala (1/150 sq km).
This is seen as a major inadequacy and impedes disaster management activities in the state. “Predictions provided by the IMD (both qualitative and quantitative) are observed to be not very accurate in the state as compared to the realised rainfall and most District Collectors have raised this complaint. This we presume could be due to the inadequacy in observation network and the lack of locally customised weather modelling, exclusively for the state,” the letter said.
The state government said it was willing to identify 188 (256 required minus 68 existing) 10 m X 10 m land parcels across the state for IMD to set up weather observatories. The IMD, on its side, should provide hyper local, village-level rainfall and temperatures warnings to the state, the letter stated. The state has also asked the Centre to upgrade the Cyclone Warning Centre in Kerala to an Area Cyclone Warning Centre as “cyclonic storm along the Arabian Sea is more frequent than earlier”.
Pointing out the five Cyclone Warning Dissemination System (CWDS) established by IMD are dysfunctional in the state, Kerala said: “It is appropriate that IMD makes these five CWDS immediately functional and setup CWDS in all fish landing centres in the state.”