Lightning strikes are most difficult to forecast, but efforts are on to take advantage of technology to inform people beforehand about such activity, a senior Odisha government official said Wednesday. "Unlike other natural threats like cyclones and floods, lightning provides barely 45 minutes to an hour for people to seek shelter before it strikes a place," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC), B P Sethi said. Sethi was speaking to reporters on the eve of the three-day 'International Conference on Thunderstorm and Lightning in Tropics' (ICTLT). Stating that technology had now made it possible to predict the possibility of lightning strike at a particular place an hour before the occurrence, Sethi said location based alert systems were being installed in the state for the benefit of the people. Sethi, also the managing director of OSDMA, said the ICTLT had been planned to improve understanding on lightning and thunderstorm in partnership with SOA.
Several other organizations like the Earth Network of USA, Bhubaneswar chapter of Indian Meteorological Society (IMS), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and RIMES, Bangkok were supporting the event, he said. The conference, Sethi said, would recommend measures for adaptation and mitigation of such extreme events for sustainable development. "These recommendations for appropriate intervention for reducing loss of life and property due to such natural hazards will impact not only Odisha but also the entire country," he said. Replying to a question, he said 122 alert systems had been installed along the Odisha coast through which people could be alerted about any possible natural calamity including cyclones and floods. These systems were fitted with loudspeakers to alert the people about the impending threat, he said.
(With inputs from agencies.)