Flash flood predictions on hold! Bengaluru weather department struggles to find site for new radar 

The Doppler weather radar offers features like accurate, area-specific short-term rain forecasts.
Last Updated : 17 June 2024, 19:50 IST

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Bengaluru: The much-awaited Doppler weather radar, capable of providing accurate area-specific rain forecast that could help determine the probability of a flash flood, is unlikely to be installed even this monsoon.

Numerous high-rise buildings are posing a problem to install the radar.

Officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bengaluru, told DH that they could not find a suitable place to install the radar though it is ready.

"There should not be any obstacle for the radar to operate. We inspected many places over a year. Some of them are unsuitable due to the presence of high-rise buildings. We rejected a few since the buildings were old and the radar could weigh up to 6.5 tonnes. We were not sure old buildings could house them,” N Puviarasan, head of the meteorological centre in Bengaluru, told DH.

Among the places inspected were the Bangalore University campus and Nandi Hills. The IMD recently held discussions with Hindustan Aeronautical Limited (HAL) and wrote to the Indian Air Force (IAF), asking if they could allow housing the radar on their land.

"The radar is ready and once we get to the right place, it can be installed within two to three months,” Puviarasan added, hinting the radar may not be ready this monsoon season.

The Doppler weather radar offers features like accurate, area-specific short-term rain forecasts.

"For example, we can predict heavy rains in Koramangala within hours, which is impossible with just satellite data. The radar provides precise cloud formation and movement data for these predictions," said a senior IMD official from Bengaluru.

Area-wise prediction will help in planning

Recalling an incident in May 2023, when a techie lost her life after her car entered a flooded underpass at KR Circle, a senior BBMP official noted that area-specific predictions could be a boon.

They could plan better, divert traffic, or close underpasses in affected areas.

"Bengaluru is a big city, and we now have zone-wise teams on standby. If we know a particular area will be worst hit, we can deploy more teams and warn residents in low-lying areas. This could be a game changer for Bengaluru, given the recent flash floods," the official said.

Published 17 June 2024, 19:50 IST

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