Weather forecasting for yatra goes hi-tech

For weather forecast during the Amarnath Yatra, hi-tech equipments are being installed at various points along the routes to the shrine.

To identify the suitable places for installing the equipment, Director General Indian Meteorological Department KJ Ramesh, is currently on a visit to the Valley.

Greater Kashmir learnt that Ramesh and Director MeT J&K Sonam Lotus left for Baltal route in Ganderbal district along with other officials.

On Wednesday evening, the officials are scheduled to visit Pahalgam route.

“The hi-tech weather system will be in place a day before the yatra begins,” an official said.

These equipment, he said, are in addition to the Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) that are set up every year at Chandanwari, Sheshnag, Panjtarni, the Holy Cave and Baltal during the yatra period.

“In case of any erratic or bad weather we will be informing the Shrine Board so that they could take timely decisions to stop the movement of pilgrims if that becomes necessary,” the official said.

Besides, the officer added, weather related SMSs would be circulated among all officers connected with yatra arrangements, informing them about sector-wise weather forecast, like in Jammu-Banihal sector or Banihal-Srinagar sector. 

“We will ensure that all pilgrims must undertake pilgrim under safe weather conditions,” he said.

The Amarnath Yatra attracts lakhs of pilgrims every year who visit the holy cave during July-August. The cave is located at an altitude of 3,888m in Anantnag district.

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

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