Weather Whisperers – The New Indian Express
Express news service
“Is it safe to travel? “,” Should we postpone the conference? “,” Will our exams be rescheduled? “,” Is it better to stock up on essentials early? … The weather blogging community has been bombarded with all kinds of queries from the anxious vaasis of Chennai since early November.
The disturbing nature of climate change and the accessibility of technology have led to a wave of weather enthusiasts in recent years, encouraging them to fervently pursue weather forecasting as a passion for many and a career for some.
Finding ways to ensure the safety and information of their growing family of followers, many junior, senior and veteran bloggers have devoted their time and diligence to this cause which comes with great responsibility. With this community growing each year, Vaishali Vijaykumar speaks to five bloggers in Tamil Nadu about the burden and obligation that comes with this commitment.
Working for a meteorological world
Srinivasan Venkatesh (@MasRainman)
In the 1980s, when I walked to school on rainy days, I stopped in tea rooms to listen to the radio and the weather forecast. I was also inspired by veteran newscaster Varadarajan’s updates on the storms on Doordarshan. These things prompted me to do forecasting as a hobby, ”recalls Srinivasan Venkatesh.
He started blogging avidly in 2012-2013. He joined a popular weather blogging community, KEA, where seasoned bloggers have helped him grow. In 2014, he started forecasting on his own. Last year, he launched a Rainman Studio – MAS Rainman YouTube channel to help farmers forecast the monsoon during the harvest season. “I have students in my WhatsApp group and I train them to be forecasters. It’s about building a community that cares about the weather, ”he says.
Venkatesh communicates frequently with bloggers in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Karnataka to keep abreast of local forecasts. “The weather blog is a rigorous activity from June to December. I get up at 4 a.m., edit the video to post on social media platforms, read today’s forecast, and participate in contests for weather bloggers. After all this, I at the office. Forecasting demands your attention and energy every hour, ”he says.
The manual rain gauge and the automatic weather station installed at his home make forecasting easier. It was his dream to reach farmers and the general public who are not on social media. “It would be nice to see more young people pursuing careers in this field. All they need is guidance. I would say read, analyze, predict and help the community, ”he shares.
Forecasting beyond borders
Varun Raghav (@RainTracker)
Varun Raghav grew up studying satellite images in newspapers. But his interest in weather blogs intensified during the Chennai floods in 2015 and set up his Twitter page in 2018 during the Kerala floods. The shortage of bloggers studying the southwest monsoon prompted him to explore the area further. He publishes forecasts for Kerala, the Karnataka coast and Tamil Nadu on Twitter and Facebook.
“To be a good forecaster it is important to develop multidisciplinary skills and I learned that from Pradeep John. and more. Fortunately, we have an active community that shares instant updates on WhatsApp and social media, ”explains the aspiring UPSC.
The monsoons are of course the most active for Varun. “We are closely monitoring news and updates from automatic weather stations. The prediction is a gamble. I recently pointed out that the rains in Kanniyakumari are going to decrease and that turned out to be correct. Recently, I said to someone that it wouldn’t rain in Kochi the next evening but it rained. We are trolled if our prediction goes wrong, but if I understood it correctly, I feel satisfied “, he explains .
For hobbyists, it’s important to understand the basics and carefully study the data, rainfall, previous year’s patterns, and the climatology in your locality, he says. Varun intends to specialize in data science and invest in a rain gauge. “I love collecting statistics on Kerala weather and I am one of the few bloggers to make them available to the public. I think we can do better with the career opportunities (in this area). Unlike the United States which has private weather agencies, here only IMD is reputable and has vacancies. For research purposes, it would be great if IMD made more data available to the public, as it would help with disaster management, ”he suggests.
Practice makes it perfect
In November 2017, Mylapore recorded 30 cm of rain after 12 hours of rain. Reading a few blogs and articles on the weather, I was amused by how downpours work. I was delighted and intrigued by the nature of our atmosphere. Then the journey began and every day has been an adventure, ”enthuses Jaswanth.
The engineering student learned to reconcile his studies and his passion. “It’s my stress reliever. I spend all my time forecasting the weather after my online classes. I make sure to read charts, articles and research papers every day. On my Twitter account “I shared my opinions. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the guidance of people like Pradeep John. He answers my questions and helps me understand the concepts,” he shares.
After four years of blogging, Jaswanth has a global idea of how cyclones, thunderstorms and monsoons work. “Each monsoon is a new experience. No weather pattern repeats itself. So whether you are a hobbyist or a seasoned blogger, forecasting will be a challenge. The best thing about interacting with other bloggers is that everyone is an expert in something. When they all put their expertise to good use, it is informative for all of us and becomes a collaborative space for learning, ”he notes.
Jaswanth believes that with practice comes perfection. “Meteorology is not an easy field to explore. You need to know the details of weather maps, wind regimes, climatology, and more to do a fulfilling job. Each year we need to prepare the ground, compare data from previous years and prepare. Tamil Nadu has a lot of potential with promising weather bloggers. The commendable work they have done speaks volumes and I am proud to be one of them, ”he says.
Young and curious
Hrishi Jawahar (@ jhrishi2)
Hrishi Jawahar’s fascination with forecasting dates back to his school years in 2010. What started as wishing for rains for the government to declare a public holiday eventually piqued him an curiosity to analyze what caused the rains. in the first place. After rigorous homework, referring to journals and research articles, understanding weather maps, and studying historical events, he ventured into blogging almost ten years ago. “I was fortunate enough to pursue a degree in meteorology at the University of Birmingham, but circumstances held me tight. I wouldn’t miss it if I had another chance, ”shares Hrishi, who has a Masters in Advanced Mechanical Engineering and an International MBA from the UK.
Most of Hrishi’s teachings come from extensive discussions with weather bloggers. “Pradeep John (Tamil Nadu Weatherman), Selvan, GTS are some of the bloggers who have helped me understand the different weather patterns. K Ehsan Ahmed, owner of the KEA weather blog, has been the backbone of all bloggers. There has also been an upward trend in the number of weather bloggers since the 2015 flood, ”he shares.
For Hrishi, not a day goes by without consulting the world’s weather maps. “The southwest and northeast monsoon periods are busy. I even got my own personal weather station, Davis Vantage Vue, from the US to check the precipitation readings and understand the pattern. For example, The NEM 2017 spawn system gave almost 600mm of precipitation over a seven day period for Chennai. Unfortunately I was in the UK during this event but continued to follow this system during my shift hours. course, ”he explains.
Research, practice and work is his advice to budding bloggers.
Start with a storm
Parthasarathy S (@ PIW44)
Parthasarathy’s journey with weather tracking began when Cyclone Nilam passed through Chennai in 2012. “I’ve been interested in studying the weather since school, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I decided to pursue it religiously. At that time, there was neither the Internet nor the infrastructure. Around September 2011, I joined the KEA weather blogging community and it has been a rewarding experience ever since, ”he recalls.
In 2015, Parthasarathy began forecasting the northeast monsoons. “It was a long-term forecast from October to December. They have proven to be effective. It wasn’t until after 2017 that I started posting predictions on social media. But I’m surprised to see my fellow young bloggers active and quick to grasp the concepts.
The interpretation that I am doing today, they are able to do at a young age. Data accessibility and technological advances play an essential role in this. A few years ago, every 12 hours we would have forecast charts, but now they are available every hour. All the information related to the pressure, the accumulation of wind, the accumulation of precipitation is given “, he specifies.
“You have to be careful with the forecast. During the period June to September, I spend at least half a day preparing the day’s forecast. During the northeast monsoon, it takes 24 hours to get a near-perfect forecast. . If my forecast is wrong, I even post an explanation the next day. It is an additional responsibility and it gives me satisfaction, “he says.
Tamil Nadu has perhaps the largest number of active weather enthusiasts in the country and also followers, he believes. “People ask me to post updates in Tamil and it shows their interest. Since our monsoon is shorter and there is less rainfall activity compared to other states, people are more excited here. January to March is relatively boring. Activities start from April, then southwest monsoon and finally our northeast monsoon, “he says.
With a sudden increase in blogging and forecasting activity, Parthasarathy cautions, “Read as much as you can. People give forecasts based on charts, but it can create panic. Please don’t plan without learning the basics. “