Kerala to get one more weather radar system

Land identified on Kannur University campus to set up Rs 6-crore system, installation to be completed within 2 months
Representative image
Representative image

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala’s persistent demand for an additional weather radar has finally been met, with the India Meteorological Department (IMD) allocating a new radar to the state. This is expected to enhance the state’s weather monitoring capabilities.

Installation of the Rs 6-crore radar system, with a seven-year annual maintenance contract period, is expected to be completed within two months.

At present, the state has only one radar monitoring system in Ernakulam which is inadequate to cover all 14 districts. Kasaragod and Kannur districts are the worst affected because of poor radar coverage. It is learned that Kerala has been demanding a second radar since 2012.

After nearly three-months-long hunting spree for finding a suitable location for installing the radar, the IMD has finally identified Kannur University campus as an ideal location for setting it up.

IMD Director Neetha K Gopal told TNIE that the new radar system will equip the IMD and is expected to significantly improve real-time weather tracking and forecasting. “Identifying a suitable location for the radar is the key to ensure maximum coverage. Many of the places shortlisted for radar installation were not suitable because of Western Ghats casting a shadow or breaking the coverage. Kozhikode, Wayanad or Kannur were the places we considered for the installation. We feel Kannur University campus will be apt. We need to construct a structure for installing it and the work will start soon once the KSDMA authorities finish the procedures for handing over the land,” said Neetha K Gopal.

The push for improved weather monitoring infrastructure has been strong since the devastating floods of 2018, and cyclonic storm Ockhi.

KSDMA member secretary Shekar Lukose Kuriakose told TNIE that the demand for a new radar is more than a decade old.

“Finally it’s happening. The existing radar has no visibility of many districts in northern Kerala. We have proposed multiple locations for the IMD and we have asked them to study the location and get back with the location which is suitable for them,” he said.

With its unique topography and climate, Kerala is emerging as one of the most weather- vulnerable states in the country. Improved weather prediction is becoming a necessity for the state.

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