Regional Meteorological Centre identifies more sites in Chennai for automatic rain gauges

The expansion of the observational network, particularly in and around the city, would help in providing predictions on weather events unique to the urban environment.

As part of its efforts to enhance its forecasting and monitoring capabilities, the Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai, has identified two more places to set up automatic rain gauges (ARGs).

The expansion of the observational network, particularly in and around the city, would help in providing predictions on weather events unique to the urban environment. The Meteorological Department has started preliminary work in Besant Nagar and Maduravoyal to install automatic rain gauges soon.

S. Balachandran, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, said steps had been taken to identify more places to set up ARGs to measure various parameters, including rainfall and maximum temperature. At present, there were 15 ARGs scattered across the city and its fringes, including Villivakkam, YMCA Nandanam, Chembarambakkam and Puzhal.

Execution of such projects are challenging due to the pandemic, and there was a delay in carrying them out within the stipulated time. Measures would be taken up to identify sites in schools as well, he added.

A dense network of ARGs and automatic weather stations would enable the department to provide better urban meteorological services, including nowcasting, for the city that is vulnerable to weather events like severe thunderstorms, urban flooding and heat waves. The State has nearly 75 ARGs and 40 automatic weather stations. The city’s second weather radar installed at the National Institute of Ocean Technology, Pallikaranai, is also being tested, and is likely to be commissioned shortly.

Meanwhile, the department has forecast that rainfall may decrease over the State as southwest monsoon activity has turned vigorous in other regions.

Officials of the Meteorological Department said thunderstorms with heavy rain were likely to occur in one or two places over the Nilgiris and Coimbatore districts, and thunderstorm activity would be largely restricted to the Western Ghat districts till July 23. However, isolated light rains were possible over coastal Tamil Nadu.

On Monday, some parts of the city received sudden showers during the evening hours. The ARGs in Taramani, Villivakkam, Nandanam, Ennore and Nungambakkam recorded light rains till 5.30 p.m. Valparai and Udhagamandalam also recorded light rains.

But, chances for rainfall may diminish for Chennai from Tuesday, and the maximum temperature is set to be around 36 degree Celsius till Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Department.

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