DNA Explainer: Difference between IMD’s Red, Orange and Yellow alerts

DNA Explainer: Difference between IMD’s Red, Orange and Yellow alerts

Heavy rains have taken over different parts of the country in the past few days, most notably the southern part of India. A Red Alert has been issued by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in Kerala due to the devastations caused by the heavy rainfall in several districts.

Before Kerala, the IMD had also issued yellow and orange alerts in different parts of the country such as Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana. These alerts have been issued to warn the citizens of the weather conditions beforehand so they can take the necessary precautions.

The main question remains- what are the colour codes and what do they signify? The answer to this is that there are a total of four colour codes- green, yellow, orange and red- and they signify the intensity of the weather conditions in that specific area.

The IMD has stated that the “colour codes are used in weather warnings for bringing out the severity of the weather phenomena expected.” The reason behind issuing these codes is to determine the “impact of the weather expected so as to keep them ready for necessary action related to disaster risk reduction”.

According to IMD, here’s the meaning behind the colour coded alerts-

Green– Least severe, no action needed

Yellow– Watch the situation and stay updated

Orange– Be prepared for severe circumstances

Red– Most severe, take action

While the general view around the colour codes remains the above, more specific guidelines are issued to the public and authorities depending on the type of weather condition- rainfall, snowfall, thunderstorm, lightning, dust storm etc.

IMD has further said that “even though colour code criteria used by all the centres are the same, it is not necessary that the colour code used for the subdivisional warning will be the same as the colour code used for any district in that subdivision.” This difference arises because of the difference in resources, geographical location and population.

Over 9 people have been reported dead and several dozen are missing in Kerala amid the heavy rains and flooding of places near water bodies. IMD has issued a Red Alert in multiple districts of Kerala and Indian armed forces are currently running rescue operations in the state.

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