No trust in Met Dept, civic body turns to US websites | india | Hindustan Times
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No trust in Met Dept, civic body turns to US websites

india Updated: Jun 23, 2009 01:55 IST
Bhavika Jain
Bhavika Jain
Hindustan Times
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With the Meteorology Department frequently changing its prediction on when the monsoon will arrive, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) isn’t taking any chances. It has subscribed to two US websites for weather updates.

It’s critical for the BMC to get accurate forecasts as it bases its monsoon preparations on them and also relies on them to warn citizens of impending deluges.

“If there is additional information available out there, we should use it. These websites — Accuweather.com and Weather.com — provide additional information about the rain in animated and graphic form,” said Joint Municipal Commissioner (Disaster Management) SS Shinde, pointing to an on-screen simulation of cloud cover over a satellite image of India. “The information available on the Regional Meteorological Centre website is inadequate.”

A two-month subscription on Accuweather costs about Rs 400, while Weather.com comes at an annual subscription of Rs 1,250.

The Met Department had stated that the monsoon would hit Mumbai on June 22, nearly a fortnight after its regular date. But the monsoon arrived in Pune, Solapur and Alibaug, and then turned towards the sea. “There was a low-pressure zone in the Arabian Sea,” explained Deputy Director-General of Meteorology RV Sharma. “The zone should subside in 48 to 72 hours; we expect the monsoon then.” However, he added, “It could arrive sooner.”

The BMC has asked the traffic police to make available video footage of vulnerable areas to monitor flooding.

The BMC will also set up six regional fire command offices equipped with vital rescue equipment and railway stations will give regular flood updates. If the trains stop, the civic body will add 500 buses to those on the roads to help transport people.