IMD working to predict flash floods up to six hours in advance

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National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM) has said that the India Meteorological Department is working to predict flash floods up to six hours in advance and alert disaster relief forces and residents.

According to the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the NIDM under Early Warning Management in Jammu and Kashmir has mentioned that on the receipt of a warning or alert from any such agency which is competent to issue such warnings, or on the basis of reports from the District Collector of the occurrence of a disaster, the response structure of the erstwhile state/UT government will be put into operation.

In a report, the NIDM has mentioned that all low-lying areas of the Kashmir Valley along with parts of the Jammu region are prone to floods. Upper catchments of all the tributaries of the Jhelum, Indus, Chenab, and Tawi rivers are prone to flash floods.

“In the Kashmir valley, floods have been a recurrent problem, mainly due to the overflowing of embankments, breaching of channels, horizontal erosion, and flash flood in the river Jhelum and its tributaries. The encroachment of river water channels and siltation in water bodies due to erosion has further aggravated the vulnerability of flood hazards in the valley,” it says.

The report states that in the last ten decades, during 20 and 21 centuries, the intensity of floods in the erstwhile state has been more recurrent and devastating. The recent floods, the report has mentioned, are 2010 in Ladakh and 2014 in Kashmir.

“On 6 August 2010, the Ladakh region experienced one of its worst natural disasters in the form of a flash flood mainly caused due to cloudburst. The downpour lasted only half an hour, but the devastation caused was enormous. About 248 people were reported dead, and 76 were missing. Around 1200 houses and 1400 hectares of agricultural land were damaged,” the report mentions.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director Meteorological Department Srinagar Dr Mukthar Ahmad told KNO that the flash flood forecasting model is already active and that they are assembling and upgrading more models for better forecast accuracy.

“The early warning detection systems are already in place, not just flash floods; prior reports for landslides and mudslides are also being generated. To get more accuracy, work on assembling more models is also underway,” he said

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