With the after effects of storm GAJA which shook Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, pudukottai, Thanjavur and Trichy districts in Tamil Nadu, a grim situation where there are 45 causalities, 2.7 lakhs trees have fallen, 58000 electric poles damaged, 82000 people camped in the relief camps, 435 mobile ambulances with doctors on duty and operation. Government’s efforts in preparedness of storm GAJA and plan of action for disaster management is commendable and praiseworthy. At the same time there were locals who stole the show by their accurate predictions since the past two months has won the hearts of many people in their area. One such weather man was an avid weather watcher at Vedaranyam, whose updates about the oncoming storm through an android application, kept the whatsapp groups people well informed since the first week of November.

Residents of the area, revenue officials from various parts of the State, police and farmers claimed that Sri. N. Selvakumar’s predictions and analysis of the weather conditions were near most accurate in Vedaranyam. His frequent warnings, reminders prompted many to move towards safe shelters in time. Sri. N.  Selvakumar is a teacher in Panchayat Union Middle School (PUMS) near Mannargudi has been an avid weather watcher, predictor since 1995. Though he confined his weather predictability nature to himself its only since 2014 he shared his knowledge through tools available on the Official Website of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). People have been very impressed with his predictions which he mastered by trial and error method. The two decades of experiences gathered have made him to fine tune his predictions with finesse. He too had predicted for a long time, that in the possibility of GAJA storm hit, Vedaranyam would be a possible site. Apart from  sharing  the information in Whatsapp he also  shares his inputs through an app called “NAMMA UZHAVAN” launched in July this year.

Sri. N. Selvakumar’s efforts and knowledge of years has won him the hearts, hope and trust in his locals, kudos to his efforts on this expected “STORM GAJA”.

-Vijayashree Ramesh

The writer is an advocate based at Chennai