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Kerala looks to pvt weather agencies for improved forecasts

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Thiruvananthapuram, May 21 (IANS) The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has been given permission to see if the services of four private weather agencies can be availed, said a top official.

SDMA member secretary Sekhar Kuriakose told IANS that there were some media reports that they have already availed the services of these agencies, which is not true.

“We have now been given permission to see what the four private weather agencies offer and a committee of experts will be formed to decide on what needs to be done after examining all the details about what these companies offer. This year what will happen is we will examine the data of these companies with the ground realities,” Kuriakose clarified.

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Kerala has approached Skymet, IBM Weather Company, Earth Networks and Windy on a nomination basis as a pilot for one year and will utilise ensemble predictions for improving weather alerts in the state.

He said that today various states in the country do avail the services of these companies.

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“There are various components that these companies offer and we will examine all these. There are numerous services which these companies offer and a committee of top experts in the fields of weather, forecasting and meteorology will make the final decision after seeing every aspect,” added Kuriakose.

This new arrangement has been given the green signal after the flood disaster which began with the rains at the end of May 2018 and continued in three stages till the middle of August claimed 483 lives. At the height of the deluge there were 14.50 lakh people in over 3000 relief camps.

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Soon after the floods hit, a controversy had surfaced between the Indian Meteorological Department and the state authorities over lack of proper information being passed by the former to the latter.

–IANS

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