To counter the city’s perennial problem of waterlogging in low-lying areas due to heavy rains, a Union government-backed research institute is working on developing an urban weather forecast system.
The system will enable location-specific forecast for even up to an hour and will cover the entire city.
The Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), which is steering the project, has had an initial round of meetings with state government officials to identify the most-chronic areas of the city and discuss the parameters for which Mumbai requires detailed forecast. The IITM is working on a similar plan for Delhi too.
A state government official, who did not wish to be named, said, “The plan is still in its nascent stages. But the system is proposed to be exhaustive and is likely to cover the entire city with a density of one weather station for every square kilometre. We will have a denser network in low-lying areas, especially those near the Mithi river.”
He added that officials from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) are also being roped in to understand the civic body’s requirements for areas and parameters for which they need more accurate forecast.
Scientists at the IITM hope to complete the project and have it operational by 2019. The Centre will finance the project. Besides the amount of rainfall, the system is expected to have sensors to give information about air quality, possible heat and cold waves, level of inundation, evaporation, precipitation, and so on.
“Currently, there is no system in place to forewarn authorities about most of these factors, especially specific to locations within the city. Considering this, the Centre asked IITM to develop an urban forecasting system for 10 cities in India,” said an IITM scientist working on the project.
He added that the institute chose Mumbai and Delhi as their priorities, considering they are some of the most chronic cities when it comes to weather vagaries — Mumbai due to its heavy monsoon and flood-prone areas and Delhi due to its harsh hot and cold waves.