Balasore: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has plans to set up in Balasore district the first ever thunderstorm and lightning research centre in the country. This ‘Thunderstorm Research Testbed’ will be the first of its kind in India. The ‘testbed’ will provide important information and updates that can save precious human lives said IMD’s Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.
A number of states including Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar witness thunderstorms and lightning between April and June. Human lives are lost and properties destroyed. To take preventive measures proper dissemination of information is required. The research centre will enable us to do that, informed Mohapatra.
“The thunderstorm testbed will come up in north Odisha. It will have automated weather stations, radar, wind profilers and other latest equipment. A detailed project report is being prepared and assistance from the Centre and Odisha government will be sought. IIT Bhubaneswar and Kharagpur centres and other academic and research centres will also assist in the project,” the IMD chief stated.
IMD official sources said that the duration of a thunderstorm is usually between 30 minutes to three hours. Usually, it is limited to a particular area or region. Analysing data and improving numerical model system are of utmost significance, in order to predict more accurately.
Norwesters in India are mostly seen in regions of Bihar and Jharkhand. Subsequently those travel through Odisha and West Bengal. Their intensity gradually increases as they accumulate moisture from the Bay of Bengal, the IMD sources added.
Notably, casualties owing to lightning strikes have remained a major concern in Odisha. In a bid to accurately predict thunderstorm, lightning strikes and thereby save hundreds of lives, the Ministry of Earth-Sciences has plans to set up the centre in Balasore district.