Five years after three hours of unprecedented rainfall nearly submerged the city and killed hundreds of people, the much-awaited Doppler radar that makes forecasts easier has been installed.
The state on Tuesday announced that the radar was installed at Navy Nagar, Colaba. However, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) specified that though installed, the radar still has to be tested and will not be available for use for at least another two weeks.
“We will require at least another week to ten days to give the radar finishing touches, after which it needs to be tested,” said R.V. Sharma, deputy director general of the IMD (Western Region).
The idea of installing a Doppler radar in Mumbai came after the deluge of July 26, 2005, when the city experienced more than 900 mm of rainfall over three hours. The Doppler radar is designed to provide quick measurements of rainfall intensity, wind speed and cloud composition so that predicting forecasts becomes easier.
A Doppler radar emits billions of microwaves that look inside moving weather systems and bounce back signs of a particular kind of weather condition that forecasters analyse to predict whether a turbulent thunderstorm or cyclone is approaching. The device can update such information every five minutes while satellites take 15 minutes to half an hour to relay real-time data.
The Doppler radar installed in Mumbai has been made by Bangalore-based Bharat Electronics Limited. According to climate scientists, the device is crucial as rainfall patterns are getting increasingly erratic.
The installation of the radar was delayed because the IMD initially could not find a place to set it up and then ran into logistical troubles while trying to get it atop a building. Last year the IMD had imported a Doppler radar from China but the Navy denied it permission to install it.