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Witnessed a landslide or flash flood? Send quick info and alert others

Now, send and receive real-time alerts on weather in Maharashtra - Centre for Citizen Science launches website where anyone can send geo-tagged images and updates on rain, lightning, landslides or even tree-felling or wall collapse anywhere in state.

Written by Anjali Marar | Pune |
Updated: August 1, 2021 10:16:45 am
Week over Pune to begin with cloudy weather, light rain: IMDAs the southwest monsoon activity sets to return over parts of Maharashtra this week, cloudy sky conditions will dominate Pune city’s weather on Monday. (File photo)

Are you headed on a road trip somewhere in Maharashtra and wish to get live weather updates en route, or about your destination? Here’s a website which will relay real-time weather information right till your fingertips.

Satark, an extreme weather event alert system managed by Pune-based organisation Center for Citizen Science, on Friday launched, which can be used to send live weather updates including on heavy rain, lightning, thunderstorm, reports of trees or walls collapsing, and mudslides from any corner of Maharashtra.

This real-time and verified information received from weather enthusiasts, amateurs and the public can then be useful to road users, those living in rural parts of the state, those in an affected area or even disaster management teams, police and local administration, who can then initiate rescue measures.

Maharashtra has, for the last four consecutive years, witnessed extremely heavy rain over a short time span, triggering flash floods and landslides. The most recent massive landslides were at Taliye village in Raigad and parts of Satara, and have so far claimed close to 200 lives. Experts of climate studies have also pointed at rising instances of such extreme events that are linked to global warming.

“Even though there are agencies to monitor weather or measure rainfall, our endeavour is to gather real-time inputs from locals and relay impact-based alerts on possible flooding, landslides or others. These alerts, which will take less than half-an-hour to be issued, will also be sent to the respective local administration for further swift action,” said Mayuresh Prabhune, who heads the CCS and Satark teams.

Presently, weather information can be shared either in English or Marathi on this website. Users can also send geo-tagged images and videos of any weather-triggered event from a specific location on the dedicated phone number via WhatsApp, Prabhune said.

The 250-odd Satark volunteers of the community have been working on this pilot model, which has now gone live for the public.

On the importance of such a service, Prabhune said, “Radar and satellite images can inform us about a weather event over a broad area but ultimately, it is the local people who experience and remain witnesses to the incidents. This will not only verify the forecast issued by the nodal agencies but also help mobilise disaster management teams, rescue and required help in a more concentrated manner.”

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Though the present website is focused on Maharashtra, the CCS chief said that a person located anywhere in India can upload weather inputs as the website can automatically pick the geographical co-ordinates and learn about events unfolding outside Maharashtra.

“We urge organisations or NGOs working in this field to join hands with us, as our goal is to make this facility an all-India one,” Prabhune added.

The Pune organisation also has plans to also offer a mobile-based application of this facility in the coming months.

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