Info-tech

Skymet releases Kerala Rain app ahead of rainy months of July and August

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on June 24, 2020 Published on June 24, 2020

Representative Image of Rains. File Photo   -  The Hindu

Private weather forecaster Skymet Weather has launched Kerala Rain, a mobile app available in both Android and iOS versions, as an integrated solution for weather-related information, flood forecasting and disaster management for Kerala ahead of the rainy months of July and August.

“After cyclone Ockhi in 2017, the floods of 2018/19 and their aftermath in the State, I personally felt that there was a need for an integrated solution that was live, easily accessible, and easy to understand,” Jatin Singh, Managing Director, Skymet Weather, told BusinessLine.

Kerala’s extraordinary order

The roping in of private players in clear preference to national forecaster India Meteorological Department (IMD) follows an extraordinary order issued by the State government dated June 19. It authorised the Head of the State Emergency Operations Centre (SEOC) to source the services of Skymet Weather; The Weather Company, an IBM Business; Earth Networks; and Windy.

The project is on a pilot basis for one year to use ensemble predictions for improving extreme weather services in the State, as per Section 50 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in what observers believe is a public expression of disapproval with workhorse IMD models. The State government has released ₹94.6 lakh to the SEOC for accessing the services of the listed outside agencies.

Jatin Singh said that Skymet has 100 automatic weather stations in the State deployed for crop insurance, which could easily be used for flood forecasting and disaster management. “We have been supplying the data to the disaster management department in the State for years now, for free,” said Singh.

Heavy rain, flash flood alerts

Skymet has also pioneered location-based nowcasting systems for heavy rain and flash floods based on satellite, lightning and radar data. And that has been worked into the app. “We have a very rich map section, where you can see live weather station data that is updated every 15 minutes. We have lightning and thunderstorm images and locations because of our tie-up with Earth Networks, and we have high resolution satellite images that update every 15 minutes,” Singh added.

“Plus, in our next update in a few days, we will be adding 15-day forecasts. This will be very useful in tracking floods weeks, if not days, in advance. With all the technology that is available, we should not be losing a single life to floods in Kerala.” The State government is also seeking to integrate data feeds from Skymet’s peer agencies listed above.

Meanwhile, Skymet has also launched theMumbai Rain app in the iOS version. It works on the same principle as the Kerala Rain app. Skymet has a captive network of automatic weather stations in the Greater Mumbai area. The Skymetweather app on both iOS and Android takes care of the requirements of the entire country, added Singh.

Published on June 24, 2020
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