Last year, back to back floods inundated Andhra Pradesh in July. Several farmers lost their crops and subsequently their livelihoods, because for them, it depends on agriculture and livestock. A flood can destroy a sugarcane field in 30 seconds, but that is a family’s wealth for an entire year.
Realising how the lack of real-time weather updates was affecting farmers in Andhra Pradesh, 24-year-old Sai Praneeth came up with an idea. He decided to help farmers in the state with real-time weather forecasts for all districts.
Speaking with Platocast, Praneeth says: “I have been a self-learned weather blogger since 2012, after Cyclone Nilam hit Andhra Pradesh and heavy floods overwhelmed several districts. I have taken a keen interest in the weather ever since I was a child, and as I grew up, I began reading the newspaper every day to find out about how the day would unwind — whether it would be cloudy or sunny or rainy. After 2013, I got internet availability at home, and using the same, I built my social media presence. It wasn’t easy, it took me nearly seven years to become the “AP Weatherman”, which I am commonly referred to as at present.”
When Praneeth began weather blogging after Cyclone Nilam, he hardly had any audience. Soon after, however, Cyclone Nivar hit in November, and this is when the weather updates he posted on social media began to get noticed.
Talking about how he gathers the information he posts, the AP Weatherman says: “I take the help of sources like the European and American weather models, which provide details not only for their own country but for the entire world. I source data for India, but mainly for Andhra Pradesh. It takes me a minimum of two to three hours to put together a small update because accuracy and timings matter the most. I enjoy the hard work.”
Praneeth is a software engineer. At work, he learned coding languages like Java and Python, using which he wrote an automated code that helps him gather relevant weather data from various sites. He compiles and posts them on his social media handles.
Praneeth, who has a 10-5 work-from-home job, wakes up in the morning to upload a weather update video at the earliest. He turns to Facebook and Twitter to provide timely updates whenever he gets a break from work throughout the day.
“Being a software professional and a weatherman at the same time is challenging. But at the end of the day, I am doing what I am passionate about, and that makes me happy,” says Praneeth.
“It is an amazing feeling when farmers reach out to me saying that my weather updates helped them make timely decisions. I feel happy to be able to do my bit to help them protect their livelihoods,” he concludes.