IMD control room, New Delhi: While the world was glued to news channels to see the heavy damage that cyclone Phailin inflicts, more than 500 officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) would be slogging out whole night long and thereafter as well for continuously analysing data and issuing forecasts to help others involved in decision making and relief work.
On Saturday evening, when dna visited the control room set up at the IMD headquarters in New Delhi for Cyclone Phailin, it was abuzz with scientists who were analysing data being relayed to them from a string of their observatories across the eastern coast of India — primarily from Odisha and northern Andhra Pradesh.
Not just that, the IMD officials were constantly relaying information to agencies like the National Disaster Management Authority as well as the top centres like the union home ministry. Regular queries of media teams stationed at the place throughout the day were just adding to their work.
The buzz at the IMD headquarters started few days ago when on October 8, they first announced the cyclone. The scene became quite hectic in the last couple of days and since then officials involved have been working for over 16 hours a day to keep the forecast updated.
“It’s a team work. People are working in different groups – some are working on satellite data, some on radar, some are looking at modelling work, some in synoptics while others are involved in dissemination of information,” M Mohapatra, Scientist Cyclone Warning of the IMD told dna.
At IMD headquarters, Mohapatra was leading the team that was constantly analysing the data being received from observatories on the coast and further relaying it to the agencies concerned.
IMD DG LS Rathore also made several trips to the control room to check the work.
IMD officials explained that apart from the data being generated from the weather satellite as well as from the automatic weather stations along the coast, there are string of observatories on eastern coast in areas like Puri, Gopalpur, Paradip, Kalingapatnam, Vizag and others that are manually recording parameters like Wind speed and rain.
“There is a team of at least 3-4 officials at every observatory including in the areas like Puri, Paradip and Gopalpur – that are expected to be the worst hit from the cyclone. They are manually recording wind speed and amount of rainfall every hour or so,” said Dr Naresh Kumar, a scientist at IMD who was working in the control room, told dna.
He also explained that scientist at IMD headquarters and in those observatories would continue working throughout the night to analyse the data.
The scientists also denied Cyclone Phailin to be a super cyclone – something that international agencies were predicting.
“Foreign agencies give their own predictions. We have our own. We consult their data but don’t go by that. We have our own system and till now our prediction have largely been on track. Anyways agencies worldwide keep exchanging data about such events,” another scientist at IMD’s control room explained to dna.