IMD vindicated over Phailin prediction, proves wrong foreign forecasters

IMD stood vindicated over its forecast that Phailin will not be a `super cyclone` as predicted by some international agencies.

New Delhi: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Sunday stood vindicated over its forecast that Phailin will not be a `super cyclone` as predicted by some international agencies and said its assessment was "more or less" accurate.

"Being a national meteorological department we cannot predict the way other agencies do as this will lead to a panic like situation. We stuck to our stand and told the media what we have been saying since the start. Our predictions proved to be more or less accurate," IMD chief L S Rathore told reporters here.

Many international agencies including the US Navy Joint Typhoon Warning Center and Britain`s Met Office had termed Phailin as a "super cyclone" and repeatedly warned it would be immense.

A noted American meteorologist Eric Holthaus had on Friday also said that the IMD was underestimating the potential winds and surges of Phailin and forecast it will be a Category 5 cyclone(the most powerful).

IMD, which is often questioned for the credibility of its estimates, had predicted that Phailin, which hit the country`s east coast yesterday, will be a `very severe cyclone` and refused to categorise it as a `super cyclone`.

It had consistently maintained that the storm`s sustained windspeeds will be around 220 kmh, one category below a "super cyclone".

Asked whether the IMD stood vindicated over its forecast for Phailin, Rathore told the assembled media it is for them to judge.

"They have been issuing over-warnings, we have been contradicting them," Rathore said, adding, "That is all that I want to say."

He, however, said that as a scientist there is always a difference of opinion.

"As a scientist, we have our own opinion and we stuck to that. We told them that is what is required as a national weather service to keep people informed with the reality without being influenced by over-warning," Rathore said.

He patted his department`s back in "accurately" predicting the cyclonic system, asserting the forecast has been "quite correct".

"We made correct forecast of the intensity and the rainfall. The time and place of landfall was also correct," he said, showing a map of the predicted and actual path of the cyclonic system.