2 more doppler weather stations coming up for Amarnath pilgrimage

Two additional radars are being installed in Kashmir as the MeT department monitors weather round-the-clock to avoid any difficulties to pilgrims embarking daily on Amarnath yatra ongoing since July 1. 

A senior MeT official said that two more Doppler Weather Radars were being installed for monitoring purposes.

“Those would be doppler radars but won’t be powerful like the one installed in Srinagar,” he said, adding that the doppler radar installed at Srinagar covers weather activity in 100-kilometer radius range.

The MeT official said that portable Doppler Weather Radar System would be installed at Gumri and Uri.

“The process is in final stage,” he said.

These radars, he said would aid Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) established every year at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni, Holy Cave and Baltal during the duration of the annual pilgrimage.

The first update for pilgrims is released by the MeT department at 4 am and in case of erratic weather conditions the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) and other officials involving in the conduct of the pilgrimage are informed at least three hours in advance.

The pilgrimage to the cave shrine of Amarnath attracts hundreds of thousands of devotees every year in July and August. The cave is located at an altitude of 3,888 meters in the Kashmir Himalayas of Anantnag district.

On Thursday at 2 pm, the MeT department issued an alert for pilgrims.

“Moderate to severe thunderstorm and shower with lightning and strong gusty winds most likely to hit (above 75percent) Kathua, Samba, Jammu, Udhampur, Reasi, Doda, Kishtiwar and Ramban during next 1-3 hrs from now,” read the alert.

“A spell of evening shower also likely en-route Phalgam-Holy Cave-Baltal.”

Senior MeT officials here said that besides the pilgrims, other people alerted include all the officials involved in managing and monitoring the pilgrimage.

“There are WhatsApp groups and alert gets circulated in those,” a senior MeT official told Greater Kashmir.

He said that they monitor weather along the pilgrimage routes round-the-clock and any signs of erratic weather conditions are instantly communicated to officials.

In the last week of June, Dr K J Ramesh, director general of Indian Meteorological Department made a two-day visit to Kashmir to take the stock of weather related issues during the pilgrimage.

Dr Ramesh along with Director MeT department J&K, Sonam Lotus, and others officials visited the pilgrimage routes in Ganderbal district in central Kashmir and Phalgam route in Anantnag district.

According to World Meteorological Organization (WMO) standards for hydro-meteorological purposes, one weather station is recommended for an area of 100 sq. Kms in topographically complex mountainous regions like the Himalayas.

However, there are only seven weather stations in the entire Kashmir valley and six in the Jammu region.

Officials say that Meteorological Centre Srinagar caters to the Meteorological requirements of the state of Jammu and Kashmir comprising 14 districts of Jammu and Kashmir Divisions.

It is maintaining a network of 12 Departmental and part-time surface observatories at Srinagar, Qazigund, Pahalgam, Kokernag, Kupwara, Gulmarg, Banihal, Bhaderwah, Kathua maintained in coordinating with Air Force stations at Srinagar Awantipora, Udhampur, Jammu and Leh.