IMD to forecast floods using soil study data & a new system

A new system and soil study data will soon enable the India Meteorological Department (IMD) to also forecast floods and guide the disaster management agencies on prevention techniques. Currently, the Central Water Commission (CWC) issues flood warnings. IMD Director General (DG) K J Ramesh told Bhasha that the national weather agency was preparing to launch this service from the next month by using the Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) for the first time in the country. The service will be started for the first time with the help of this system, he said. As of now, the system is being tested. We hope to start it from the next month, he added. In a first for the IMD, it will also apprise the CWC and other concerned agencies about the necessary steps to deal with the aftermath of floods. Ramesh said that different kinds of soil from different parts of the country had been studied to find out how absorbent each variety was. This, along with the rain forecast, will help to ascertain how much water will be absorbed into the ground and how much will be left behind after going into rivers, drains and other water bodies, which can lead to floods, he said. Using the FFGS, the IMD will be able to issue accurate flood forecasts for different regions by assessing their specific geographical conditions and on the basis of the surplus rain forecast, Ramesh added. Apart from this, the state and district-level farmers bodies and disaster management agencies will be given appropriate guidance for flood preparedness, Ramesh said. He said that as of now the IMD only issues warnings for heavy rainfall, adding that accurate flood forecasts will be issued in future on the basis of soil testing. In plains like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, where the soil is more absorbent, 10 to 20 cm of rainfall will not cause floods, the IMD DG explained. But in hilly areas like Uttarakhand, where the soil is less absorbent, same amount of rainfall is enough to cause floods, he added. Ramesh said that data from study of soils in every part of the country was already available. The FFGS will facilitate flood prediction for different regions on the basis of the temperature and rain forecasts, he said.


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