Ill-equipped Met Office fails to predict storm

Px02-019 ISLAMABAD: Jun02 - A view of the trees which fell on the road in a thunderstorm in the capital. ONLINE PHOTO by Muhammad Asim

The Pakistan’s Meteorological Department (PMD) again failed to predict the thunderstorm that wreaked havoc in the northern part of the country.

While meteorological departments across the world forecast weather updates precisely, the PMD is lagging behind in predicting weather forecasts.

At least 15 people were killed and over 125 injured on Wednesday night when a powerful windstorm, accompanied by rain, swept through the twin cities and parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“All is well” was the summary of the PMD’s report issued on Wednesday, hours before the storm hit some parts of the country. The report was a copy-pasted version of previous reports that told about the rain in some parts of the country but did not warn citizens about the thunder and windstorm.

The storm with a wind speed of 120 km/hour, as reported in the media, caused huge devastation in KP, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Nowshera, Jamrud, Attock, Charsadda and Islamabad, but the Met office failed to issue a correct forecast.

In Islamabad, the storm also exposed the Capital Development Authority (CDA)’s incompetence, as strong winds uprooted trees on all major avenues and link roads, causing huge damage to moving and parked cars. Several billboards were also brought down by the strong winds.

PMD is ill-equipped to predict extreme weather events – such as heat and cold waves, strong dust storms and cyclones – caused by climate change.

The storm not only claimed precious lives but also caused damages in millions of rupees. Had there been a warning from the PMD, the damages could have been minimised.

Despite repeated efforts, the PMD’s forecasting officer could not be reached for comments.