It is well known that weather impacts everyday life, affecting our day-to-day routines and activities, moods, and relationships. Some kinds of weather at certain times can seem very meaningful—a shaft of sunlight or a stormy sky can sometimes pierce the mundane aspects of everyday life and touch us in magical ways, creating moments that feel potent and significant. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) is the allied agency of the country to provide current and upcoming weather information beforehand, like tropical cyclones, norwesters, duststorms, heavy rains and snow, cold and heat waves, etc., which cause destruction of life and property. Accurate weather forecasting can minimise the destruction of lives and properties. The devastating tropical cyclone that hit Calcutta (now Kolkata) in 1864, which took the lives of at least sixty thousand people as well as the uncountable lives of domestic animals, is considered one of the deadliest cyclones to hit the country so far. The severity of these calamities highlighted the absence of a system to monitor atmospheric parameters, which forced the Indian Government (British East India Company) to establish a meteorological department by appointing H. F. Blandford as a meteorological reporter in 1875. It was a modest start for the India Meteorological Department (IMD) by establishing headquarters in Kolkata. Later, IMD’s headquarters were shifted to Shimla, then Pune, and finally to Mausam Bhawan, Lodi Road, New Delhi. To commemorate the glorious journey of the department, IMD is celebrating 150 years of its establishment from January 15, 2024, to January 15, 2025. In this year-long celebration, IMD is planning to provide a panchyat-level forecast, particularly to help small farmers, and will also launch the “HarHarMausam...GharGharMausam” initiative. The Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in Guwahati is an integral part of the IMD and provides different weather-related services to different stakeholders in the NE region, following the IMD’s mandates. Looking back, when the entire north-eastern region was waking up to weather-related phenomena such as squally wind, heavy rainfall, thunderstorms, floods, drought, etc., the meteorological observatory situated at Kahikuchi near Guwahati airport was the only office from where weather information was disseminated to the different stakeholders in the region. Some sagacious cadres of IMD who had a stark realisation about weather forecasting established the meteorological observatory (MO) at village Kahikuchi on July 23, 1949. With time, MO Guwahati was shifted to Borjhar Airfield (presently known as LGBI Airport, Guwahati) on January 1, 1953. Due to the significant expansion of its responsibilities, the demand for the upgrade of MO Guwahati reverberated spontaneously. Considering the merit of the demand, the IMD administration decided to upgrade MO Guwahati to the Meteorological Centre (MC), which entailed forecasting responsibility for the state of Assam. On a very auspicious moment, Dr. Sorojini Mahishi, then Minister of State, Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of India, inaugurated MC Guwahati on March 25th, 1974. Like big things have small beginnings, as time went on, this MC Guwahati again upgraded to the well-known Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) in 1997 and has become the epitome of weather-related services in the entire northeastern region.
It is worth noting that three meteorological subdivisions of IMD come under the jurisdiction of RMC Guwahati, which are known as i) Arunachal Pradesh, ii) Assam and Meghalaya, and iii) Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura (NMMT). For flawless administrative control along with prompt technical support, six meteorological centres (MC), three aviation meteorological offices (AMO), eight aeronautical meteorological stations (AMS), four meteorological observatories (MO), and one potential evapotranspiration (PET) observatory have been established in the northeast region. Three Doppler Weather Radars (DWR) and seven Radio Sonde Radio Wind (RSRW) stations had also been installed in different stations under RMC Guwahati. The network of Automatic Rain Gauge (ARG) and Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) under RMC Guwahati also provides the required meteorological data around the clock, which helps in providing weather-related services invariably. Weather warnings, along with the Now-cast, local weather forecast, district-level weather forecast, regional weather forecast, and agricultural bulletin, are the main mandates of RMC Guwahati. From a modest beginning in 1949, RMC Guwahati has been progressively expanding its infrastructure for meteorological observation, forecasting, and weather services. It has also achieved parallel scientific growth using contemporary technology. In its impressive journey, RMC Guwahati reached several milestones and ventured into new applications that may put society at the threshold of an exciting future. The celebration of 150 years of IMD aiming to provide panchyat-level forecasts would be a proud moment for the country, but weather scientists will surely face new challenges consequently since the weather pattern over the country has become volatile and the climate tends to change gradually.