New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences has announced it will set up a cyclone warning centre in Kerala and boost weather forecasting in the state with another Doppler radar.

The new centre will be set up in Thiruvananthapuram. At present, India Meteorological Centre (IMD) has six cyclone warning centres, four along the east coast at Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata, and two along the west coast at Ahmedabad and Mumbai.

“In view of the recent heavy rainfall, and concerns over extreme weather activities in future, the ministry has decided to set up another centre, which will provide regular coastal bulletins and heavy rainfall alerts. This will enable the state to prepare better in case of developing low-pressure and further strengthen the present forecasting activity of the IMD’s existing office in Thiruvananthapuram," said Kamaljeet Ray, scientist at the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

According to officials, the centre will be equipped with state- of-the-art forecasting tools to provide daily weather alerts and coastal warnings. It is expected to be functional within a month.

The ministry has also proposed setting up another C-band Doppler weather radar at Mangalore to provide “nowcast" alerts for severe weather, including thunderstorms triggered by heavy rain for the next 2-3 hours.

The radar, which costs 3 crore, will cover northern Kerala and Karnataka and is expected to be installed by the end of next year.

Currently, there are two Doppler radars in the state, at Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram, which cover the central and southern districts, respectively. With the addition of another radar, the entire state will be covered for monitoring rainfall and severe weather events.

IMD has developed many new models and tools right from nowcasts (2-3 hours) to extended range forecasts (15-20 days’ lead time).

“Thunderstorms are easily captured by radar. The track can be seen and warning can be issued three hours ahead. Since they are formed in association with heavy rains and cyclones, these radars are extremely useful links before severe weather affects the state," said Ray.

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