Published: 28th July 2021
These four young weathermen are creating a storm on Twitter. Check them out!
Many youngsters are predicting the weather and sharing updates on Twitter. These under 25 forecasters from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are a cut above the rest. Here’s why we think so
It was poetic justice that when we spoke to young weathermen from the two Telugu-speaking states, dark, tantalising clouds were already teasing — will it rain or not? Or will it pour dramatically? We are all looking at the sky and asking these questions every day, but all we really need to do is check Twitter. It's also fortuitous that one of them — Sai Praneeth — caught the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and found their way to a mention on his Mann ki Baat radio address. It goes without saying that there are a good number of youngsters out there who are rendering their tireless service to give real-time updates, complete with radar images, cms of rainfall and what have you.
That these new Twitter handles are doing this is very reassuring but what are their motivations? The 2020 Hyderabad floods or Cyclone Nivar? There may be a multitude of factors, but the purpose is singular, to forecast weather and share updates on social media. Sometimes even at the cost of miscalculated predictions, because, remember, we are talking about calculating the highly unpredictable weather here, for which they are not spared any vitriol unleashed by mindless trolls. Yet, they persevere.
So we talk to four gritty youngsters whose job is not to predict the weather, but they have made it their responsibility. They are under 25, some of them are yet to hit full-fledged Twitter fame, they are mere students, but they are a united, tight-knit community of weather forecasters who know what they are doing, come rain or shine.
We are told that S Sai Kiran Suri’s phone rings off the hook, especially during the monsoons. As a site engineer, he has many friends working in the same field in cities like Hyderabad, Chennai and Bengaluru, somehow it has become his job to forecast the weather for them. Being out in the field is tough, so will they need an umbrella or an extra bottle of buttermilk? But it's not just them who are counting on this 23-year-old. His 1,600 odd followers are also counting on his real-time updates on the weather in Visakhapatnam.
He joined Twitter in August 2020
"Forecasting for Vizag is much more difficult than for Hyderabad or even Vijayawada. The terrain is so diverse," says the youngster. But the VIZAG Weatherman, the name he goes by on his microblogging site, is always at it. But what is it that actually got him started as early as Class VII when he was happy with just cloud reading? "I was always under the impression that weather is always good to us until 2014's Cyclone Hudhud. It instilled a certain caution and fear in me. So after that, it all started with cyclone-tracking," says the weatherman who pursued his Civil Engineering from Raghu Institute of Technology. That's why, apart from keeping track of the regular weather models, this lad pays particular attention to cloud developments, convergence and divergence (accumulation or drawing apart of air) and other such factors.
S Sai Kiran Suri | (Pic: S Sai Kiran Suri)
"About 70% of the time my prediction goes wrong," Sai Kiran admits sheepishly, though we know that's an exaggeration. But even when it does, Sai Kiran admits his mistake on social media and moves on instead of dwelling on it too long. "One is more likely to get long-range forecasting wrong and that's why predicting the weather is ridiculed sometimes. But, in my experience, people are more interested in real-time forecasting more than anything else," he says, making an important observation.
He has over 1,618 followers
What is notable about Sai Kiran's prediction posts are the sporadic trivia he greets us with. Like how many cyclones Andhra Pradesh was hit with between 1891 to 2020 — in the post he offered a proper break-up between severe, minimal and depressions which is very impressive. Then came the tweet about how Kambalakonda and Simhachalam hills actually block the rain bands. So when you follow VIZAG Weatherman, you don't just sign up for weather updates but for also the occasional trivia which gives you a deeper understanding of the weather conditions of this coastal state.
For more on him check out his Twitter handle @VizagWeather247
Charting it out
On account of heavy rainfall expected tomorrow, the school will be closed. When this announcement greeted Md Adnan Ahmed as a schoolboy, he was ecstatic. He had his whole day planned out and he waited for the next day to come only to be welcomed by the sun shining brightly in the sky. He sounded so disappointed when he regaled us with this anecdote that we dare not ask him if he ended up going to school. But what this event did do is spark an eternal interest in the weather — something that continues to drive this 20-year-old till date. Since then, sky-gazing has been a permanent feature of his day.
Adnan join Twitter in April 2020
Similarly, in another instance, Adnan and his friends were following a particularly interesting forecast, of rain bands moving from Sangareddy into Hyderabad. As it required a long wait to actually confirm this, his friends succumbed to slumber while this youngster was at it till 5 am when he could finally confirm on Twitter that yes, indeed, the clouds have arrived. "That tweet of mine really went viral and it was a turning point for me," says the 20-year-old who goes by the name HYDERABAD Weatherman on Twitter and adds, "What our forecasting helps with the most is helping people plan their travel, if they should ride the metro or take the car and so on, plus, it helps the government plan in advance, especially for rain."
Md Adnan Ahmed | (Pic: Md Adnan Ahmed)
Adnan was particularly inspired by TELANGANA Weatherman, AKA Balaji, who has upwards of 3k followers on Twitter and seeks the latter's guidance and help. "My aim is always trying to find the right words to explain to people so as to make the information easier to digest," says the second-year Civil Engineering student who is pursuing it from Deccan College of Engineering.
He has over 1,075 followers on Twitter
He generously retweets the predictions of other forecasters along with sharing different kinds of unique charts to indeed make the information much more visual. Sharing rainfall tables sourced from Telangana State Development Planning Society to sharing pictures from portals like Windy, he keeps his content diverse. He also helpfully gives information about the air quality of the City of Nizams."I also try to understand my followers more accurately so as to give them the predictions that they actively seek. So my attempt is always to do much better than the previous day. It's not easy to get it right, but I try," says the youngster from Yakutpura.
For more on him check out his Twitter handle @HYDmeterologist
Rain, rain go away
For every city, there ia a designated Twitter handle solely for predicting rains. When K Rajkumar figured that there was none for Hyderabad, he decided to take up the mantle and now tweets under the handle Hyderabad Rains. "As a child, I loved photography. Apart from greenery, I would love to take pictures of the sky and clouds," says the 23-year-old. But his real interest in forecasting was sparked by looking at the Twitter handle Weather@Hyderabad AKA Rajani. We are told he has inspired many youngsters and keeps encouraging them by not just retweeting their forecasts but also offering guidance through DMs. "When he used to predict that it'll rain today, I used to look out for rains. That's where my interest really started," says the final year Structural Engineering student who is pursuing it from CMR Institute of Technology, Hyderabad. So from going to observing other Twitter handles since 2016, he started his own.
Rajkumar joined Twitter in August 2020
Since then, the first thing that Raj does when he wakes up is look at the sky, no kidding. "With my observations alone, I try and analyse if there is a possibility of rains. It's a good exercise," says the youngster who is based out of Hyderabad but hails from Nidamarru, a village in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. And then would come the various weather models, satellite images and everything else. What stands out funnily among all the posts of Raj is his adorable usage of emoji which is slightly on the higher side. "I just feel like it makes my content more relatable," he says with a smile.
K Rajkumar | (Pic: K Rajkumar)
Trolls! Don't even get Raj talking about it. Twitterverse is tough and Tweeple don't spare wrong forecasts. Raj too has been accused of posting wrong information and yet, he manages to sway even the most bitter troll with the explanation he offers. "Actually, our Hyderabad people are nice. Once I give an explanation as to how the prediction went wrong, they understand," he shares. And since post-lockdown, when online classes are the norm, this lad has had the chance to really focus on his prediction and give more time to it which actually leaves a lesser margin for error. So he has really been focussing on honing his craft.
He has over 2,592 followers
Raj predicts that while the chances of rain are moderate in Hyderabad, it will be in mid-August that the city might be lashed again and September will be aall about thunderstorms. And for some reason it isn't, he will have an explanation ready.
For more on him check out his Twitter handle @Hyderabadrains
The friend of farmers
It was Tamil Nadu Weatherman Pradeep John who told Sai Praneeth that whatever predictions you make, see to it that it isn't only for urbanites, but it's for rural folk too. "Pradeep John is my one and only teacher," says the 24-year-old. It was during Cyclone Nivar, when Andhra Pradesh experienced 40 cm rainfall in 12 hours, that the demand for forecasting arose. Via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube videos and blog, he clearly explained the track the cyclone was taking and the videos were even used by the electricity department and other government officials to plan the day ahead. When there were unexpected hailstorms, Sai Praneeth informed the farmers via social media ten days in advance. "Many farmers contacted me to say that this was particularly helpful for them," he shares. It's not for nothing that the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi praised Sai Praneeth and his tireless services in Mann ki Baat just last week. The youngster is indeed doing a lot for the rural areas. He is in constant touch with the District Collection of Chittor and helps them plan the week, especially during this monsoon season. "I have started working with the government recently, only when disaster strikes. It is tough as a working professional, but I manage to make time," says the Software Engineer who works at Knowledge Lens.
Sai Praneeth joined Twitter in July 2020
"It's not easy to predict the weather for Andhra Pradesh given the ghats, but we need to use our own experience and visualise the weather pattern with inputs from models and patterns. It takes a lot of experience to nail the predictions for Andhra Pradesh," says Andhra Pradesh Weatherman.
Sai Praneeth | (Pic: Sai Praneeth)
In fact, Sai Praneeth even predicted the floods that Hyderabad (he occasionally turns his attention to Hyderabad too) witnessed last year and gave out a warning three days in advance. But it went unheard. "No one cared actually, but when all of a sudden rains started lashing the city, everyone was in panic mode," shares the youngster.
He has over 12,000 followers on Twitter
As far as the future goes, Sai Praneeth is expecting cyclones to hit Andhra Pradesh after October and when it comes to Telangana, he asks us to expect a winter that isn't as cold as last year. "Though forecasting and tracking cyclones is very sad, one learns a lot while doing so. I certainly do," he informs and also shares that when it comes to trolls, there is only one thing he does, simply ignores it.
For more on him check out his Twitter handle @APWeatherman96
Tools at your disposal to predict the weather:
- Global Forecast System (GFS): A weather forecast model issued by National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) which informs about several atmospheric variables, wins, precipitation and more
- European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF): This intergovernmental organisation informs about weather patterns via charts, datasets, an integrated forecasting system et al
- Windy: This is a professional weather app and portal that is a very reliable tool for weather forecast visualisation. It specialises in wind and waves patterns and is specifically helpful when it comes to tracking cyclones
- Portals like skymetweather.com, IMD, Telangana State Development Planning Society (which gives weather observations) and others help with getting more specific data when it comes to the weather