Monday, March 27, 2017

Earthquake report: 27Mar2017, NE of Kalimpong

Date of Occurence:
03:12:09 HRS(IST)
10 KM
Lat. 27.3°N Long.88.6°E

 As per the above report the intensity is 'Slight' but mark my words, we were jolted out of bed in Kalimpong by a strong but momentary shake  at approx 3.15am which knocked off the power supply for about 20 mins. The epicenter was 26.1km NE of Kalimpong, near Pakyong.
5hrs later at 8.10am, we have not received any report of casualties or damage.

Praful Rao,
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Saturday, March 25, 2017

How to convert your smartphone into an Early Warning (EW) device

1. I was tracking the storm (Slide 1) over Nepal last evening on this IMD website and had to resist an urge to post it on STH's  'Hazard Alert', What'sApp group because I was not too sure of the movement of the storm.
2. Having tracked storms on broad band internet for over 5 -7yrs now ( see 1, 2), I am cautious about creating panic or apprehension by uploading inaccurate weather forecasts - nevertheless because of the prevailing westerly upper winds, I was more or less certain that the storm would reach us if it did not dissipate elsewhere. Where I was wrong was in the timing - I expected the storm to reach us in 2 hrs.
3. Six hrs later, at 3.30am this morning, I was woken up by the sound of driving rain, followed by loud peals of thunder and lightning. A glance at the IR satellite imagery (Slide 2) on my smartphone told me that the storm had arrived over us.
4. It dumped almost 40mm of rain in as much time which gives an approx intensity of 60mm/hr - an intensity which can trigger off landslides if the precipitation is sustained.
5. But here is the bottom line :-
a. Updated satellite imagery (IMD updates its images every 30mins) together with cloud movement animation and other web - based info (like Lightning Location) can provide us with powerful tools to give us EW info on  storm movements.
b. Major weather events like cyclones and hurricanes give ample warning (5-6 days)
c. Minor weather events like local storms generated by micro-climates are often the only ones which do NOT show up on satellite imagery.
d. I rely a lot on IMD satellite imagery but there are many others which I hop to when IMD website is down (eg. Bangladesh and Nepal meteorological dept websites)
6. While all this is pertinent to hydrological events only, one need not wait for the next BBC weather bulletin to check the forecast
- instead just convert your smart phone into an early warning device!

Praful Rao
Kalimpong district,
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Friday, March 24, 2017

STH activity and all about bees (CNN)

From CNN (20Mar2017)

'Pollinators, a diverse group that includes insects and animals such as birds and bats, are under threat because of widespread pesticide use, climate change, the emergence of foreign pests, diseases and habitat loss. Between April 2015 and April 2016, beekeepers in the United States lost 44 percent of their colonies and in the UK, beekeepers reported losses of almost 17 percent, according to the British Beekeepers Association'.
Read full story here

Note :- The quote on 'Bees' on the image above is attributed to Einstein, but many believe that there is no substantive evidence that he did make this statement.

Praful Rao
Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

For the record : Rainfall (10/11Mar2017) in the Darjeeling - Sikkim Himalaya after 5 months of drought

As per STH records the last day it rained in this region (discounting N Sikkim) was on 13Oct2016, after which this whole area is in the grip of drought like conditions - leading to forest fires, water shortage and dust haze covering the area.
After almost 5 months of drought, a western disturbance passing thru this area gave welcome showers :-

a. 10Mar2017- 45mm (in Kalimpong)
b. 11Mar2017 - 7mm  (in Kalimpong)

There was also snowfall in Sandakphu which is the highest point in Bengal.

Praful Rao.
Kalimpong district

Monday, March 6, 2017

Inducting affordable ICT to empower ourselves : Drones for forest fire control

The reason for the forest fires becomes amply clear when we see the above rainfall map from IMD. Like much of the country, the Darjeeling-Sikkim Himalaya is running almost 89% deficient in rainfall and the forests are full of tinder dry foliage.

Praful Rao,
Dist Kalimpong