India is planning to enhance its meteorological forecasting capability to more accurately predict severe weather in a localized manner. The Ministry of Earth Sciences will send a proposal to the government for spending 20 billion rupees ($308 million) in five years to install more radars, supercomputers and special observatories, said M. Rajeevan, secretary of the ministry. The modernization program will help the country forecast rain in a small geographical area. In August, the heaviest rainfall since 2005 killed a dozen people in Mumbai, India’s financial capital, and disrupted stock and bond trading and halted a suburban train network that carries about 8 million people a day. Local residents and civic authorities struggled to cope as most roads were submerged and commuters waded through waist-deep floodwater.
“Urban cities are a serious problem, so we are starting an urban meteorology program,” Rajeevan said in an interview in Chennai on Monday. “There are challenges in terms of predictions.” Accurate and targeted weather forecasts are critical in India, where rain is the lifeline for about 880 million villagers who directly or indirectly depend on farming for a living. India is the world’s second-biggest grower of rice, wheat and sugar.