Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Since long the casualties due to lightning strikes have remained a major concern in Odisha. In a bid to accurately predict thunderstorm and lightning strikes and save thousands of precious lives, the Ministry of Earth-Sciences is planning to set up a ‘Thunderstorm Research Testbed’ in Balasore district.

It will be first of its kind research centre in India, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra.

In an exclusive interview to OTV, Mohapatra said that the centre will provide latest information on lightning and thunderstorms in Odisha.

“Several states including Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar witness thunderstorms and lightning strikes during April to June. A lot of human casualties are reported in such thunderstorms and lightning. To save precious lives, there is a need to undertake a research so that early information can be disseminated,” said Mohapatra.

According to Mohapatra, the life span of a thunderstorm ranges between half an hour to 3 hours and it is limited to a particular area. To predict accurately, we need to analyse data and improve numerical model system.

Nor’westers in these regions are formed in Bihar and Jharkhand and subsequently it travels through Odisha and West Bengal and their intensity increases as they get moisture from the Bay of Bengal, said Mohapatra.

“The thunderstorm testbed will be set up in north Odisha and it will have automated weather stations, radar, wind profilers and other latest equipment. A detailed project report is being prepared and assistance from Centre and Odisha government will be sought. IIT Bhubaneswar, IIT Kharagpur, and other academic and research centres will also assist in the project,” Mohapatra added.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)