False weather alert kicks up a storm

False weather alert kicks up a storm
The police messages directed that all station house officers should stay alert because the SDMA state control room has notified the possibility of heavy wind at night.

Thiruvananthapuram: A row has erupted over the warning issued by the State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) for Tuesday night, saying that strong winds and rain will lash six districts by 10 pm. The SDMA blames the weather bureau for the false report, but they assert they are not aware of it at all.

Asked about the row, an SDMA official, however, insisted that the weather bureau had passed on wrong information about an old message, several days old. It spread on WhatsApp by evening.

The alert appeared on Tuesday morning, around 11, as “Now Cast,” as the Met titles sudden warning related to weather. The warning reportedly issued in the morning warned of winds at night.

The weather bureau director, however, told Manorama Online that the agency had not issued any such information. “We just gave a routine information that fishermen should stay alert as winds of 35 to 45 kilometre-per-hour are expected. We also said it might rain in some places. We have no idea why the SDMA issued a warning that caused panic among people.”

The SDMA had said that Kottayam, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Malappuram and Wayanad districts would be hit by 55 kmph winds, followed by rain.

The police messages directed that all station house officers should stay alert because the SDMA state control room has notified the possibility of heavy wind at night. The message plunged the districts into panic. Police stations and SDMA offices were flooded with calls. Police chiefs in the six districts prepared to face the situation, unaware that it was an undated old message. Boats and cranes were readied. Police chiefs sent special instructions to sub-inspectors. Wireless messages were also sent.

People in six districts were in panic after the false message emerged. Finally at around 10 pm, the SDMA issued a media notice saying no rain warning is in place at present.

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