A “technical problem” has left the Doppler Weather Radar (DWR) non-operational for the second monsoon in a row. While this year, a problem with the UPS has grounded the radar system, last July it was an electrical problem. Officials from the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), however, said that the radar, which has been non-functional for over a week now, will not affect forecasting.
“Due to high voltage, some modules of the UPS have been spoilt. The Thane-based company that repairs the UPS has not returned it yet and we are in the process of getting it fixed,” said Ajay Kumar, director of radar.
According to Kumar, the radar at Mumbai mainly gives cloud formation around Mumbai and helps with ‘now casting’ — heavy rainfall warning six hours in advance.
A IMD official said that it helps that Mumbai is facing dry weather now so the radar wouldn’t be of much use.
“The radar works 24X7, it is likely to have a few repairs periodically and is not something that will affect the forecasting.The radar is just one of the aids used for forecasting. At present, we are relying on satellite imagery, weather models and upper air measurement to provide the forecast. There is no problem with forecasting,” said V K Rajeev, IMD Mumbai director.
In April 2013 as well, the radar had been hit with a technical snag for over a month.
The radar, developed by BHEL and installed at Colaba in July 2010, uses the doppler effect in microwaves reflected off objects at different times based on their relative position to the radar, to “hear” physical changes. At the time of its installation, IMD officials had said the Rs 15 crore machine was a state-of-the-art technology at par with systems used in developed countries. It has the ability to transmit detailed information about a cloud, including an insight into the intensity and force of rainfall.