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Though continuous downpour and debris from landslips at several points have blocked roads to Himalayan shrines and led to suspension of the char dham yatra for the fourth consecutive day on Saturday, no major loss to life and property has been reported so far, thanks to timely and effective weather predictions.
Anand Sharma, head of Dehradun Met Centre said: “We are regularly monitoring the system for providing accurate and timely forecasts. We are also issuing relevant warnings and alerts as and when required besides continuously updating the government authorities if there is any major visible change in weather.”
The Meteorological Center, Dehradun has been issuing at least eight special categories of weather forecast bulletins on daily basis covering the entire state. From hourly forecasts to an overall seven-day advance capsule, the forecasts provide a constant update on weather.
The categories include a ‘nowcast’ (the forecasting of the weather within the next three hours is often referred to as nowcasting) released every three hours between 9 am and 9 pm and a district-level forecast for all the 13 districts. Then there are three exclusive daily reports released every day at 10 am, 1 pm and 5.30 pm incorporating weather forecast for different parts of Uttarakhand for the next three days and also outlook for the next four days thereafter.
A separate weather bulletin is dedicated especially to Char Dham shrines of Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri as well as Hemkunth, the famous Sikh shrine.
There is also a city-specific forecast for the 12 key places of Kumaon and Garhwal regions, including Mukteshwar, Dehradun, Pantnagar, Tehri, Haridwar, Mussoorie, Nainital, Pithoragarh, Almora, Champawat, Joshimath and Uttarkashi.
The Met center is also updating weather forecasts for the 15 high-altitude sites, mostly glacial areas, located in the higher reaches of Uttarakhand (above 3000 meters). These include Yamuntori, Gamukh, Dodital, Bandarpunch, Khatling, Chorabari, Madmeshwar, Satopanth, Pindar Glacier, Dudhatoli, Niti, Drongari, Kalapani and Milam.
There are two other separate weather-based advisory bulletins issued especially for the benefit of farmers. These include a daily update and weather based agro advisory released on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The mid-June disaster last year spurred by heavy rains had left around 5000 dead and thousands displaced. Lack of an effective communication dissemination system in the state was said to be one of the causes that led to a high magnitude of loss and damage in 2013 flashfloods in Uttarakhand.
Piyoosh Rautela, executive director of Uttarakhand’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre (DMMC) said weather forecasts are being continuously forwarded to all important officials across the state through fax, emails and calls for timely action.
“We are also constantly updating weather info on (social networking site) Facebook and sending SMSes to mobile users registered with us besides sharing details with media for wider circulation,” he said. Rautela said the centre has tied up with mobile service providers to send bulk messages.