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HindustanTimes Sat,12 Jul 2014

Snag hits Mumbai’s weather radar, may delay predictions

Nikhil Ghanekar , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 18, 2013
First Published: 01:56 IST(18/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:58 IST(18/4/2013)

A technical glitch in the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) installed at Colaba weather observatory could make it difficult for weather officials to  provide real-time forecasting at the onset of monsoon.

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According to officials from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the DWR’s antenna that sends out electromagnetic waves to ascertain cloud presence developed a technical snag last fortnight.

Even last year, the DWR  became operational only in July. Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), the company that maintains the radar, is currently looking into the repair work.

“One of the components of the antenna is not functioning properly. Owing to this, there is some noise coming from the antenna. The antenna sends out electromagnetic waves that capture the reflectivity of clouds, which gives an accurate reading of the intensity of rainfall,” said Sunil Kamble, director of DWR, IMD, Mumbai.

“With a dysfunctional antenna, we cannot run the radar at all. We have asked BEL officials to expedite the repair work so the radar will be operational by June 10.”

Readings taken from the radar are used to alert the civic body, which in turn, alerts costal districts about the possibility of heavy rain.

Officials from BEL, Bangalore, are hoping to repair the technical snag by May end. “This will give IMD time to give their feedback on the radar’s performance and accuracy before the monsoon sets in,” said Krishna KS, senior deputy general manager, corporate communications, BEL.

The DWR was installed at IMD’s Colaba observatory in October 2010 but was operational only after the onset of monsoon last year.

The idea to install a Doppler radar was mooted after the city received 994mm of rainfall within a span of 24 hours on July 26, 2005, triggering a major flood in Mumbai.


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