India’s amateur forecasters are not formally trained in meteorology. Still, many people rely on individual blogs or Facebook pages that have built reputations after years of forecasting. “U r a gr8 help” reads a message Srikanth received from one reader of his Chennai Rains blog, which he manages with two other people. Another reader invited the Chennai Rains team to his wedding.
Weather wonks such as Srikanth are scattered around India. In the financial hub of Mumbai, 64-year-old retired businessman Rajesh Kapadia has become a local hero for the predictions on his blog, Vagaries of the Weather. Kapadia’s passion for meteorology started when his father gave him a wall-mounted thermometer as a teenager. At first, people mocked his weather obsession. “They thought I was a madman looking at clouds,” he said.
In the northern Indian city of Rohtak, 16-year-old Navdeep Dahiya sends local farmers WhatsApp and Facebook weather alerts while studying for school exams. Dahiya describes 2014 as his “golden year” — it was the year he went on a school trip to the India Meteorological Department. “I saw how farmers are helped by the weather,” he said. “I saw how they use all these gadgets to predict weather.”
Dahiya soon set up his own weather station at home; he has thermometers, an automatic rain gauge and a digital screen. Now known as Rohtak Weatherman, Dahiya sends out weather reports in Hindi and gets phone calls from farmers in the region asking for predictions.
That is from Vidhi Doshi at WaPo. I would be very interested in knowing how the forecasts of the amateurs (probably not the right word at this point) compare to the professionals.