Three weather radars being installed for better forecasts

January 28, 2018

The Kathmandu Post, 28 Jan 2018 

The government is preparing to install three weather radars in a bid to improve weather forecasts and provide real time data on atmospheric weather conditions. 

Three radars will be installed in Rata Nangala of Surkhet in the western region, Ribdikot of Palpa in the central region and Rametar of Udayapur in the eastern region, according to the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM).

The radars, first ones being set up in the country, are automatic stations which will be scanning the sky to feed back the data related to weather conditions, according to the DoHM Director General Rishi Ram Sharma. 

“These stations will upgrade our weather information greatly. For the first time, we will be able to give real time data on atmospheric weather,” said DG Sharma.

Upon installation, these radars will provide significant information that will be useful for aviation, disaster alert and agriculture sector. After getting the real time data on movements of clouds and other atmospheric activities, the aviation sector and even the general public can plan their activities accordingly, avoiding any risks. “Radar scans the whole sky and finds out positioning of clouds, its types, their nature for rain or hailstorm, also the place where it has rained along with the duration of rainfall,” explained Sharma. “The first sector to benefit from weather radar is aviation. As weather radars can inform about position of cloud, thunders or cumulonimbus clouds in advance, the flights can avoid them. For the aviation sector, we need real time information, which will be provided by these radars.” 

Weather radars can also provide reliable data on weather patterns, allowing the local authorities and communities to be alert or better prepared for an approaching catastrophe. 

“The radar can generate data, for example, on the duration, amount and areas where rainfall has occurred. This can assist vulnerable communities in dealing with natural disaster,” Sharma said.

According to Sharma, the department has completed installation of the weather radar in Surkhet with the financial assistance of the World Bank under the Building Resilience to Climate-Related Hazards Disaster Project. It is expected to be commissioned soon, he said. The remaining radars, which are being funded by the government, will come into operation by the next fiscal year. A weather radar costs around Rs180 million.  

“The plan on Palpa and Udyapur radars was developed recently. We have been carrying out other activities like land acquisition, road construction which will take some time,” added Sharma.