LAHORE: As monsoon is expected to prematurely start from Monday (today) the Pakistan Meteorological Department awaits sophisticated tools it has been seeking so earnestly to make accurate rain and flood forecasts during the three-month season.
Official sources on Sunday said the department was working out technicalities of procuring a modern radar which the Punjab government has agreed to pay for. Even if procured, the equipment could not be installed immediately to monitor the rainy season which officially starts from July 1 and lasts till September 30, they added.
The Punjab government was much eager to have radars installed at Mangla, Sialkot and Lahore. Finally, it expressed its willingness to pay for the radar for Sialkot which is hit the most by rains and floods as it is situated at the foot of the upper catchments of the river Chenab in the occupied Srinagar.
Officials said the summary for the modern Doppler, quantitative precipitation (rain) monitoring, radar was prepared by the Punjab Disaster Management Authority. It was later approved by the chief minister and forwarded to meteorological department for PC-I.
It will take some time before the PC-I is ready as it involves working out the specifications or technical details of the radar, civil work to install it and the staff required to run it. Then it will come to Punjab for consent and release of the required funds. Afterwards, international tenders would be floated to select a company and the radar.
The officials said this indicated that the radar would be put to operation after fulfilling all these requirements. But the process completed so far was a welcome step towards modernising the Met department.
Actually, an official said, the Punjab government had been showing merely its willingness to foot the bill of the three required radars.
Most probably, an official said, the provincial government would also pay for the two other radars needed for Lahore and Mangla at a later stage. All the radars would be of the same make and capacity, he said.
Meanwhile, moist currents from the Arabian Sea were penetrating upper and central parts of the country on Sunday. A fresh westerly wave is expected to affect most upper and central parts of the country from Monday (evening) to at least Thursday, according to the Met department.
It expected the system’s first spell of rain/dust-thunderstorm with gusty winds at few places in Zhob, DI khan, Kohat, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Gujranwala, Sargodha, Multan, DG khan, Faisalabad divisions, upper FATA, Islamabad and Kashmir in the next 24 hours. Light rain-thunderstorm/drizzle is expected at few places along Sindh coast.
Published in Dawn, June 19th, 2017