Mohapatra; IMD Boss

When the very severe cyclonic storm hit Paradip killing 10,000 people in 1971, he was little boy studying in a school in Odisha’s Bhadrak district.

He had never imagined to head the country’s lone and leading weather office, the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

However, the killing of about 10,000 people in 1971 cyclone, shook Mohapatra when he was a child. This strengthened his resolve to become a weather forecaster.

Known as the “cyclone man” of India, renowned scientist and cyclone warning specialist, Mrutyunjay Mohapatra was Tuesday appointed as the Chief of IMD.

A notification issued by the Department of Personnel &
 Training (DoPT) named Mr.Mohapatra as the Director General of the IMD.

Mr.Mohapatra, though station at New Delhi, is a known face in Odisha’s household for his accurate forecasts on cyclones, its wind-speed and likely impact on life and property including.

When cyclone Fani hit the Puri coast, Mr.Mohapatra was frequently seen cautioning the people and the state government which enabled the authorities to ensure early evacuation of millions of people.

The 54-year-old Scientist 'G' and Additional Director General in the IMD has been appointed as Director General of Meteorology, IMD, for a period of five years, the order said. He will assume charge in August.

The IMD is responsible for weather and climate-related forecasts in the country. The department  also issues warning to people about severe weather phenomenon like cyclones, dust storms, heavy rain and snow, cold and heat waves and others.

Apart from strengthening the IMD's infrastructure, Mr.Mohapatra said his priority will be to improve the dissemination of weather-related information -- from nowcasts to weather forecasts --, focus on sector-related forecast and give impact-based prediction in all areas.

Through sector-related forecasts, the IMD intends to give predictions on specific areas, information for transport systems like trains. The IMD currently gives impact-based predictions only for cyclones.
Mr.Mohapatra now leads the Cyclone Warning Division(CWD) of the IMD.

During last six years, the CWD has given accurate forecasts on cyclones including when Phailin (2013), Hudhud (2014) and Titli (2018) hit the Odisha coast.

Before joining the IMD, Mr.Mohapatra, a Masters in Physics, joined the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory in Chandipur of Balasore district.

"This was also the time that the first Agni missile was tested in 1988. After the successful test, (former President and then a Senior Scientist at the DRDO) Dr APJ Abdul Kalam shook hands with everyone in the team," he said.

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