CHENNAI: A day after the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai (RMC) failed to predict heavy rains in Chennai and its surrounding districts on December 30, Chief Minister MK Stalin has requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to provide advanced weather prediction mechanisms and upgrade the technology used at RMC, Chennai enabling it to make predictions of high alert situations earlier and notify the same to the State government well in advance.
"The shortcoming in the capability of RMC to provide accurate real-time rainfall forecasting on instances like this is often preventing the State and district administration to take up timely mobilisation of emergency management systems," the Chief Minister said in his letter dated December 31 to the Union Home Minister.
He also pointed out that the failure of the RMC in giving accurate predictions results in total disruption of normal life, movement of health care support systems, and also causing loss of lives and damages to critical infrastructure.
The Chief Minister further said that these instances highlight the need for making additional investments in advanced weather prediction mechanisms and up-gradation of technology being used at the meteorological centres.
Underscoring the fact that the State government relies substantially on alerts issued by the RMC, Chennai for gearing up the administration to handle impending disaster situations arising out of intense rainfall, Stalin said that a timely alert from RMC helps the State and district administration to take up pre-emptive efforts to ensure the safety of people. "However we have noted that RMC is unable to predict red alert situations sufficiently in advance giving hardly any time," he added.
Explaining what had happened on December 30, the Chief Minister said that the RMC in its bulletin issued at 12 noon predicted thunderstorms with moderate rainfall at a few places over coastal Tamil Nadu and thunderstorms with moderate rain in Viluppuram, Cuddalore and Delta districts, while predicting thunderstorms with light to moderate rain in some areas of Chennai.
Later, at 3:40 pm, the RMC issued a Nowcast Warning stating that thunderstorms with light to moderate rain would occur at isolated places over a few districts including Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, and Chengalpet districts for the next 1-2 hours.
Meanwhile, rains started lashing Chennai and its suburbs from the afternoon that lasted till late at night. At 4:15 pm, the RMC issued an Orange alert. By this time, there was a high-intensity heavy downpour all over Chennai and its surrounding districts resulting in the inundation of many places and total disruption of traffic in the city.