Pune and Mumbai got a temporary respite from air pollution last week due to thundershowers and gusty winds which swept away the tiny particle pollution and both cities witnessed several “good” days.
Air quality in Mumbai, however, turned bad and would continue to remain so for at least three days as per the prediction made by the System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research or SAFAR model that is currently on trial.
The SAFAR forecasting system is likely to be dedicated to the nation next month, said Gufran Beig, Project Director, SAFAR at the ESSO-IITM Pune, of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
This is mainly due to the remnants of a major dust storm which was experienced in the Gulf region early last week and now crossed the Arabian sea.
The storm has elevated the levels of PM 10 and PM 2.5 in Mumbai significantly on Sunday as per the data obtained by new SAFAR station at Colaba area but marginally affected Pune air quality.
Although the direction of storm is towards Mumbai, Nashik and part of North Maharashtra, its remnants is likely to elevate the level of PM 2.5 particles from Moderate to Poor by Tuesday and Wednesday as per the SAFAR forecast simulated on Sunday.
The dust storm reduced visibility in areas like Lonavala, Maval, Pimpri Chinchwad. A staffer from the state highway police control room said, “The visibility on both Pune Mumbai Expressway and Old Highway was very low between Lonavala and Pune. No traffic snarls or mishaps were reported.”
An increase of 50-60 per cent is likely in the level of PM 2.5 particles where as PM 10 particles may go up by 30-40 per cent being heavier and settle down faster. The forecast will be revised on Monday after obtaining more refined weather data and trajectory of storm.