My instinct V/s Weather forecasts

Why are weather forecasts in India/Mumbai so pathetically off the mark? Apparently (this is authentic gossip and though i have no legal way or means of verifying it  me thinks it may be true) the Met department of India has up to date,state of the art  weather prediction equipment that equals the best in the world that the governement has spent a fortune and a half on very very recenly-as late as after the July 2005 floods- but have just been too lazy to install.

 Or they couldnt be bothered. Or it is stuck in a beaurocratic loophole or they have not bothered to acquire the manpower and technical knowlegde(which has to be imported ofcourse like the machinery itself) to learn its operation.

So all this apathy/corruption/laziness  renders the machinery unusable and useless-so it is lying in a Government customs godown god knows where. So we are forced to rely on predictions that arise from equipment and machinery that should have been rendered reduntant atleast a quarter of a century ago

Let me give you an example. My strongest network in the city is what i call the mothers network. A network wherby mothers exchange notes apprehensions and information with each other on a minute to minute basis so as to keep our children safe. Its what we do-we see a mother with a child around the same age as ours in our neighbourhood and exchange numbers and stay in touch, exchanging valuable safety information and tips.

It is  through the mothers network that i found out about the terrorist attack on 26/11. Got the sms from a school mum. Its what made me turn on the TV to verify that its true, keep my baby safe at home and sms every mum on my phone list.

So thanks to this mothers network and thanks to the inaccurate incorrect and irresposible weather forecast in our city I have been bombarded with calls and sms’s the last few days wondering if I am sending my child to school this week. Torrential rains expected yesterday( 23rd July) heavy flooding due to the highest tide of the century or whatever expected today (24th July) blah blah.

In both cases i laughed and said that since the indian met department had predicted it-I’m sure the reverse was true and that i was definitely sending my daughter to school. I would rather trust my own instinct than the nonsense dished out by the weather guys. And i was proved right.

The met department in India dosent know their arse from their nose-ask me. I waded though nose high water on the 25th of July 2005 to reach home safe. There were times that night when i thought i might not make it through the 12 hour walk home. I clutched on to the person next to me as we  waded through water climbing up our nostrils , watching dead animals and other debris float by us. We prayed. And wondered why the met department had not seen the biggest storm in our lifetime coming? We marvelled at the spirit of the average mumbaikar, reaching out, trying to help, ferrying us across on high tiered hummers, sometimes carrying the weak maimed or helpless to safety on their shoulders

Surely a storm of the magnitude of 25th July 2005 was visible on the met radar? Why was the average citizen not warned? why were so many lives and countless crores of property lost on that fateful night ? Who was responsible for not sharing this vital peice of information?

Why was a dry day like today & yesterday not spotted on the met radar? If it was why was this misinformation of thunderstorms flooding and mayhem sent out? To what end?

I have lived in cities all across the world-when the met dept says its going to rain it will. If they say the sun will shine you carry your dark glasses in your pocket. When they say there is going to be a storm and we should stay indoors you better take it seriously.

 Most catastrophies have been predicted to a very large extent and rescue or prevention measures put in place and many lives saved in the bargain. Ofcourse nature can also be unpredicable sometimes and we all make allowances for human error.

But in Mumbai accurate weather forecasts even once in a blue moon seems to be too much to ask for. You can almost take it for granted that if the met department predicts something one can assume the opposite to be true

Why? Why? WHy?

Its that word again-apathy. And we accept it like all the other crumbs that our governments and other institutional bodies feed us

But because the public voice is now becoming loud and jobs may be lost-thanx to the intervention of the emerging new media- those in power now panic. Declare every 2nd day as an emergency. Schools and public institutions shut down. Work education and productivity comes to a grinding halt

Yesterday -23rd July 2009 (torrential rainfall predicted) and today 24th july 2009(declared as high tide flood dread stay at home days) have been the driest days in the last month in Mumbai-the sun has been shining for gods sake. 
The school next to my home has declared both days as holidays thanks to this ill informed prediction of the meteorological department-that always seems to get everything wrong. –
I had calls and sms’s till 2 am in the night from mums asking if if it was okay to send our children to school.

What is going on? What are we paying taxes for? Why are we keeping quiet about all this? Is globalization about slumdog millionaire winning a few oscars? Or a few business families being declared the richest in the world? Or the fact that bollywood dance is now declared as a legit dance form by virtue of it being featured on some American TV reality show?

If globalization is where we are headed why cant we live like the rest of the world does? With the right and access to accumulation and dissemination of information that will make our world a better and safer place to live and raise our children in? Why are we crowing at being fed platitudes, half truths or lies?

Isnt it time we all woke up and spoke our minds and demanded right action?

18 thoughts on “My instinct V/s Weather forecasts”

  1. it is a sombre thought suchitra.we r a country where mediocre is
    raised pedestal high and brilliance scornd.The meterological dept
    is not sacked with the competent or the efficient.Or the equipment
    is outdated.or the peersonnel do not know how to use the new machinery.
    or is it a bogey that new machinery as installd and the money siphoned off
    elsewhere.even normal rainfall has been missing!
    It is god that saves the nation.

  2. Time and again, Major Natural Calamities have not been accurately forecasted in any part of the world. Its only in hindsight the devastation caused gives a measure of gods wrath.

    It depends on the attitude of the reaction to the forecast. It would be nice to have all the forecasting beforehand and it would be made mandatory for people whose forecast has been inaccurate punished. But to what end?

    Let us not waste time about Nature issues (which is infact unpredicatable) but solve our attitude issues.


  3. Raguraman

    What do wou mean ‘lets not waste our time on natures issues but solve our attitude issues?

    Arent they one and the same thing? These things are not other peoples problem-they concern each and every one of us.
    nature predictions are pretty accurate all over the world-then why not in india?

    I think if there is anyone who needs to solve attitude issues it is you-you seem to be stuck in exactly the same apathy that suchitra is talking about.


  4. God alone knows where the money in India is being spent on . Our Govt is the worst i hv seen no improvements no help everythis is so laid back and slow …. we will end up being a developin country for ever.There is no action from the Govt on what ever the issues be … it is just discussed by the media for twodays n when a new issue arises the media moves on n the chapter is closed….
    No one to question the spending of the govt none of the govt offices have updated stuff !! oh god this country will go no where…….Of all the issues we are facing in our Country Weather Forecasting will be the last issue that the Govt will ever look into.

    All we have to do in India is pay taxes on time and expect nothing in return.

  5. the weather bureau is just gassing so that it is not caught on
    the wrong foot.It is packed with idle wonders
    how they spend their time.They must be asked how they
    predicted heavyrains when even normal rains did not occur!

  6. then they will say that as we did predict earlier this was suppose to happen n the winds got delayed hence delay in the rains :)) they can just come up with any set of stories you want . that is what they have been doin all these years

  7. Hello suchitra… I hope u will love to read below wrriten by me. Thanks.

    kuch rang hai itne saare ki bikhare bikhare se lagte hai..
    jo saath hai wo nahi ; jo door hai wo apne se lagte hai…

    kuch sapne aankho mein itne saare..
    ki dekhe dekhe se lagtey hai..
    ab poore hue jo khawab mere, to iraade toote toote se lagtey hai..

    kuch rang hai itne saare ki bikhare bikhare se lagte hai..
    pal ho jab khud Do pal ka ; tab har pal apne se lagte hai…

    kuch baatein yaadoan mein itni saari..
    ki khwabon mein batiyaane lagte hai..
    wo baatein nahi par saasein thi meri..
    jo yaad aane par tootne lagti hai..

    kuch muskurahat teri itni pyaari..
    ki mere aansu bhi palko se aisa kehtey hai..
    tu door kahin khwabon mein mere
    aur yaad karun to tu roothne lagti hai…

    kuch rang hai itne saare ki bikhare bikhare se lagte hai..
    jo saath hai wo nahi ; jo door hai wo apne se lagte hai..

  8. Thanks for your beautiful poem in Hindi. But I wonder how many will have the patience to read and understand it.Had you written it in Hindi, it would have been wonderful.From google you can write in Hindi. Try it next time.All the Best

  9. Weather is after all weather…Never know whether it will change or stay as estimated.

    You must have a good telecom service provider to help you with weather alerts on SMS…

  10. what i write about has nothing to do with makhis.
    in today’spaper there is news that a constable has been
    arrested for raping a woman for four years.the woman
    says he promissed to marry him! 4 years of sex with
    a married man can’t be rape.the woman has obviously
    been a willing partner.she is known tto the family,even
    to the constable’s wife! rape is violation against the will
    of the raped.four years sex can’t be described as rape.
    there is something wrong.could any one delve into
    this and shed some light on this queer episode not
    merely the rape but the police arresting the erring

  11. well well… all this angst about trusting someone else to guide you is pretty zapping or ridiculing someone who guided you wrongly is worse. for all of you who have survived several calamties of the natural kind or the man made kind… unfortunately i cant address the ones who didnt survive. Me thinks… that the met departrment hypes it up to keep people off the roads after the last calamity… the media enjoys a field day with an exagerrated puddle, hence you have very concerned relatives calling you about the floods, and the local if he/she has been foolish enuff to ignore or succumb to fear… has lost out on instinct )))

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