PESHAWAR: After jolted by unpredicted devastating rains and floods in the country’s history about four years ago, the meteorological (Met) department is finally gearing up for installing modern radar systems to be more exact in predicting weather so that it could warn the government bodies concerned in time if there is any disaster in the making.
The need for modern radar system was realised when the unprecedented rains and floods brought huge devastation in July 2010.
According to a National Disaster Management Authority report, 20 million people in an area of over 100,000 square kilometres were affected by the rains and floods and there was widespread damage to property and infrastructure.
After the floods in July 2010, the radar system at strategic locations were proposed to better monitor weather systems and forewarn about the disaster. The July 2010 floods woke up the authorities from deep slumber to improve the technical capacity of the Met department.
The radar system, a part of the Met department’s disaster-preparedness strategy, would improve the department’s ability to monitor and get almost exact data about weather systems and to better forecast weather, Mushtaq Ali Shah, the director of Met department in Peshawar, told Dawn.
The Met department has got funds and is going to start work on installing a new radar system at Kalpani in Mardan district from the next month to better monitor as well as collect data about the weather systems.
“In the first week of March work is going to start on radar system at Kalpani in Mardan”, said Mr Shah. It is pertinent to mention here that bridge at Kalpani, a hung nullah in Mardan, collapsed due to fl ash floods in July 2006, killing about 50 people. The entire Mardan city was flooded.
Initially, the department wanted to install an automatic warning system at that troubled spot to alert the local people as well as administration in case of expected flooding but the radar would give more
accurate data about the situation, the official said.
He said that the department had proposed installation of four radars in the province to monitor and collect data at different locations. The radar system of Kalpani is the first one of the newly proposed radars. A radar system at Dera Ismail Khan, which was out of order, is being fixed and soon it would start functioning.
About Rs300 million were allocated for the four radar systems in the province. Those radars were planned for Chitral, Cherat, Kalpani (Mardan) and DI Khan, official said.
“Recently about Rs2 million have been released for construction of radar facility at Kalpani and land has been acquired for it. We hope to get the radars installed in Chitral and Cherat too,” said the offi cial. He is hopeful that with a clear picture of stages of weather and exact data they would also be able to know about rainfalls in the neighbouring Afghanistan once the radar in Chitral is installed.
“This radar system in Chitral would cover 300 kilometres area which would also give us data about rainfall in the neighbouring Afghanistan and weather there,” said Mr Shah, who feels this would help them to forecast better.
Currently, the Met department has data only about Chitral when it rains but they rely on their own considerations instead of exact fi gures about how much rainfall and water they should expect from Afghanistan.
The official said that radar system in Chitral would also inform them about weather in Afghanistan and if both countries had some bilateral understanding they could even share the data with the neighbouring country.