Jharkhand is set to get a Doppler radar for accurate and effective early weather prediction, weather officials said on Thursday. The radar is expected to help minimise human deaths from lightning, which has killed 1,800 people in the past 12 years in this state.

Dr Devendra Pradhan, additional director general for instrument at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Ranchi, said procurement of the radar was in the final stage and it would be made operational in Jharkhand within 12-14 months. “The equipment will cost around Rs 10 crore. It’s the need of the hour for short-term weather prediction, particularly for a lightning-prone state like Jharkhand. A Doppler radar covers a radius of 250km. This means entire Jharkhand will be covered by it,” said Pradhan.

He said the radar would be installed at IMD’s Ranchi centre campus. At present, the IMD centre in Ranchi forecasts weather based on observations by Doppler radars in Patna and Kolkata.

Doppler radars are currently installed in Agartala, Bhopal, Bhuj, Chennai, Cherrapunjee, Delhi, Goa, Gopalpur, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Machilipatnam, Mohanbari, Mumbai, Nagpur, Paradip, Patiala, Patna, Solapur, Sriharikota, Srinagar, Thrivananthpuram, and Visakhapatnam.

RS Sharma, a meteorologist at the Ranchi IMD centre, said the Doppler radar could read direction and speed, or velocity, of objects such as drops of precipitation faster than other weather detection gadgets. “It can also detect sudden developments that will occur in three-four hours and send out early warnings,” said Sharma.

The official numbers for death by lightning come from the state disaster management department and the United Nations Development Programme. Experts say the numbers are much higher as several deaths in remote areas go unreported.

First Published: Mar 15, 2019 03:02 IST