Nine lightning detection stations to be set up

Kathmandu, June 26

The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology is setting up nine lightning detection stations  in different places of the country to collect accurate information about lightning.

The German-based technology was brought to Nepal by the department with the financial support of the World Bank which granted Rs 40 millions for the project.

According to the department, lightning detection stations have been set up in seven places so far. “We have already set up lightning detection stations in Biratnagar, Simara, Kathmandu, Bhairahawa, Pokhara, Surkhet and Dhangadi. Work on the remaining two stations in Tumlingtar and Nepalgunj is under way.” Director General at the Department Rishi Ram Sharma told The Himalayan Times. “After the stations start operation, we will be able to collect real time information of lightning that will help predict the possibility of lightning.”

He said real time data generation from the stations would help forecast the weather more accurately. Stations have the capacity of collecting information about lightning within a 500-metre range.

The department said after collecting information from various lightning incidents, meteorologists will be able to classify which cloud might cause lightning.

“If the cloud that caused lightning earlier moves towards the next place, we can warn people about possible lightning.” DG Sharma added.

A five-year figure maintained by the National Emergency Operation Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs shows that as many as 553 persons were killed and 1,132 others were injured by lightning strikes during the period of 2011-2015.

The researcher of lightning and senior meteorologist Mani Ratna Shakya suggested to the public that they should stay indoors during lightning for safety.

“Lightning bolts are electric currents with a temperature of more than 10,000 degrees, and can easily spread in wet and metallic objects, so people need to stay safe,” he said, “The best way to survive thunderbolts is to put metal bars from roofs to the underground in every household.”

The department also informed that it has been preparing to install weather radars in three different places across the country to predict precipitation from cloud, calculate its motion, and estimate its rain, snow, and hail types.

Ratanagla Hill of Surkhet at an altitude of 2,200 m, Ripdikot of Palpa at an altitude of 1,800 m, and Nametar Chitre of Udayapur at 2,400 m have been selected for installation of weather radars by the start of 2018. Each radar costs a minimum Rs 300 million.