Meet the three trusted weather bloggers for Telugu states

Three independent weather bloggers open up about how they learned about weather analysis and built a growing network of followers on social media for their accurate forecasts.
Weather bloggers Balaji, Sai Praneeth and Rajani from left to right
Weather bloggers Balaji, Sai Praneeth and Rajani from left to right
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Once, when Sai Praneeth was a class 6 student, he was sent out of the class by his teacher. What had irked his teacher was that Praneeth was busy staring outside the classroom through the window, the heavy rain and petrichor making it hard for him to concentrate on the lesson. And when he was told to leave the classroom, Praneeth found himself gleeful instead of upset – he could go out and enjoy the rain! 

Many people enjoy rainy weather, perfect for a hot cuppa and snacks. But for Sai Praneeth and a few others, love for rain took deeper root, motivating them to study long-term weather patterns and eventually, become independent weather bloggers. Now, they not only wait for the next rain, but also forecast upcoming weather events, and have become reliable voices in the space.

The News Minute spoke to three independent weather bloggers who have a growing following on social media of people who look to them for accurate weather updates and forecasts.

Sai Praneeth

Sai Praneeth (25) began studying weather in 2013. After two years of research and preparation, he started predicting weather through his blog, Weather of South India, in 2015. A B Tech graduate and a gold medallist from Anna University, Praneeth maintains his blog while holding a full-time job as a software engineer in Bengaluru.

He says that he uses satellite and radar images, numerical models sourced from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), image data from Europe, and Japanese Meteorological data to predict weather.  

Initially, Sai Praneeth was only updating his own circles through WhatsApp and Telegram groups about weather events. However, people urged him to have a larger social media presence given the accuracy of his predictions. So, he started broadcasting predictions on other social media sites in September 2020, which quickly became popular. At the time of writing, Sai Praneeth has about 35,000 followers on twitter and 55,000 followers on Facebook. 

As his predictions gained popularity due to their accuracy, Praneeth was also invited for a dialogue between UN Habitat and the UK on changing weather in India 2020, along with the then Vijayawada Municipal Commissioner from Andhra Pradesh, which, he says, was a turning point in terms of acknowledgement for his work. “As I focussed more on Andhra-related weather events, many district collectors and municipal commissioners also started taking updates from me and keep in touch even now,” says Praneeth.

He was also featured in an episode of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio show in July 2021.

Sai Praneeth, whose family lives in Tirupati, has lived in Vizag and Nellore, among other places. He says that drastic weather events that take place in these areas also helped him in his study. “Our predictions are helpful especially when people are dealing with floods. Many would not know how to get accurate weather predictions, so when we provide accurate results, they start depending on us,” says Praneeth, who posts updates after studying weather patterns during his office hour breaks.

Apart from research papers and articles including those from IITs, Praneeth has also studied YK Rao’s book, Monsoon Dynamics.

Rajani Poola

For Rajani, it was the HudHud Cyclone in 2014 that prompted him to get into weather blogging. He realised that several people remained in the misconception that the cyclone would not impact Vizag city; but when the cyclone landed, the city witnessed large-scale devastation, with a death toll of 124. The 37-year-old Hyderabad resident, who hails from Vizag, says that he understood then the need for disbursing accurate information to as many people as possible to avoid the extent of damage caused by extreme weather events.

Initially, Rajani used to predict weather by manually observing clouds patterns, wind directions and the range of humidity. Later, when he decided to take his predictions to social media, he employed more technical aspects such as computer-based weather models, and combined that analysis with his own manual observations. He says that he also learnt from fellow bloggers in Chennai about the techniques that they were using.

Rajani says that predicting weather is a welcome break from his usual software-related work. “Any work related to weather I do it with a lot of passion, so I don't feel it is a burden. In fact, it's a stress reliever for me. I'm not into nowcasting (short term forecast for the next couple of hours), I only give forecasts (24 hours) and outlooks at scheduled timings on regular days. So, it doesn't affect my day-to-day work much,” says Rajani.

Rajani, who predicts weather in Hyderabad, has also been expanding his predictions for both Telugu states as well. “Weather prediction is not a one-day job. We need to be updated with the situation every day even if it is not raining that day, in order to make a proper forecast,” he says. He explains that this is because weather is continuous, and day-to-day variations such as temperature, humidity, and wind directions need to be monitored regularly as they all add up to a big weather event.

Rajani has about 9,300 followers on Twitter handle, ‘Weather @Hyderabad’. 

Balaji T

Balaji is the 16-year-old behind the ‘Telangana Weatherman’ Twitter handle. While weather and rain-related events always intrigued him, he began focusing on the technicalities from class 10 onwards. While the COVID-19 induced lockdown happened when he was in his intermediate, it also gave him time to read about the cloud formation patterns through various articles and research papers online and also seek help of senior weather bloggers who were on the field.

Balaji, who was already known in his friends circles as the ‘weatherman’, started sharing his knowledge via social media in October 2020. He was also among the weather bloggers who were accurately predicting the heavy rains which caused flooding in Hyderabad that same month. “I observed that there would be heavy rains in Hyderabad and wanted to alert the residents. Soon, things escalated with flooding in the city. As I started posting predictions on social media around this time only and most of them turned out accurate, my followers also increased,” says Balaji, who has around 8,500 followers on Twitter. Balaji uses analysis of data from IMD and National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecast (NCFMRW) for weather predictions.

Along with self-learning weather analysis and predictions, Balaji also topped in his intermediate with 982 marks out of 1000. He has secured a university seat for an engineering course, which will begin this year.

Balaji also wants to start a website for accurate information about the weather in the future. As of now, Balaji is giving 24-hour predictions every day, which takes about 1.5-hour analysis studying various aspects of weather and available data. He also provides area wise nowcasting for Telangana and also focuses on weather related events like cold waves, rains and others events for Hyderabad. 

He adds that each and every rain event is a learning experience to predict weather events. “Basically, our motto is to create awareness among people related to weather and to also help farmers to prevent losses,” says Balaji.

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