Published: 09th June 2021
How this 16-year-old has been forecasting Hyderabad's weather on Twitter since the floods last year
T Balaji might have a lot on his plate academically, but he continues to make time for what he is really passionate about, forecasting the weather and sharing updates on Twitter. This is how...
Monsoon clouds are sauntering across Hyderabad's skyline and if you are interested in the weather, this is the best time to be a weatherman. So amateur weatherman (or should we say weatherkid?) T Balaji is having the time of his life, despite the impending JEE and EAMCET exams that he is preparing for.
So the day goes like so for this 16-year-old: The first thing he does is checks weather models like Global Forecast System (GFS) and European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), apart from a good 10 to 15 minutes of skygazing from his house in Dilsukhnagar, Hyderabad. He checks satellite and cloud images as well, easily available on the internet. "I believe that you should observe all the charts, models and images but apply them to local conditions. It becomes very important to look at temperature, humidity, clouds and other local factors," he says, enumerating one of the most basic components of weather-watching.
During the cloudburst over Hyderabad in October, Balaji was giving regular updates, sometimes even hourly, which were area-specific. This helped a lot of people
This second-year student at Sri Chaitanya Junior College took a while to grasp it all, but with the help of Twitter handles like @Rajani_Weather and @TS_AP_Weather, the journey became a little smoother. "I used to have discussions with them on Twitter and DM them with my doubts. They readily shared their knowledge with me and I learnt so much. When I started my Twitter account in October 2020, they started retweeting my predictions and that really gave me a boost," says Balaji, who has been tracking those rain clouds since his childhood. In fact, legend has it that at the age of six, even at the hint of rain, he would drop everything and make his way outside.
"The rains that lashed Hyderabad in October last year was my turning point. Areas were submerged, people lost property and there was loss all around. People started tweeting me to know when all this was going to end. I understood then that this passion is no longer just about being interested in weather, it is actually a great responsibility," says Balaji who has over 2.1K followers on his Twitter handle @balaji25_t. What is endearing about this youngster is that he interacts with all those who tweet to him, disengages with nasty trolls and owns up if a prediction goes wrong. "No matter what models you use, how sure you are of your predictions, nature remains unpredictable," he sighs, adding that he considers himself a learner still.
He shares official charts, maps, short videos and, in many accurate ways, makes keeping track of weather interesting
Colour-coded maps of the state are his go-to, no matter what season. So it's red and its varying shades in the summer, similarly, blue and arrows to show wind direction during the monsoons. The youngster, who also likes to play cricket, hopes that he can continue predicting the weather as a hobby, no matter what else he pursues professionally.
Check out his Twitter profile @balaji25_t