Met Office website fails to update cyclone data for 'technical glitch'

  • Staff Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-11-08 21:51:13 BdST


As the threat of a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ loomed larger, concerned citizens who turned to the website of Bangladesh Meteorological Department for the latest information on Cyclone Bulbul were left to rue the lack of any update on Friday.

When the matter began to draw heat on social media, the Met Office and BTCL issued separate statements on the issue. But neither statement shed any light on the actual problem.

The Met Office’s website had encountered the same issues back in May this year when Cyclone Fani was brewing.

As Bulbul intensified into ‘severe cyclone’ over the Bay of Bengal on Thursday, a special bulletin was issued on Thursday night in which the Met Office advised maritime ports to hoist local cautionary signal No. 3. The bulletin was published both on the Met Office’s website and Facebook page.

However, the cyclone turned ‘very severe’ on Friday morning as it moved towards the Bangladeshi coast with a wind speed of up to 115 kilometres per hour. The level of the warning signal was also raised to No. 4.
While this information was eventually posted on the Met Office’s Facebook page at 1:30 pm on Friday, the scroll on its website remained unchanged from the night before.

The department’s hotline number 1090 mentioned on the Facebook page to get forecast went out of order as well, drawing criticism from the citizens.

“I can’t open the website and am getting only the update no. 13 and not the following ones. Please fix the website soon,” one MS Nawaz wrote in a Facebook post.

“There’s no response when I call. Why deceive people if you can’t provide service when people need weather information?” wrote Abul Hassan. 

“The call connects once after several attempts but then there’s no sound. Please don’t give people false hopes,” remarked Zakir Ahmed Shohag.

“There’s a rush of users at this time keeping the network busy; we hope you’ll hear from us soon,” the department wrote in response.

“We’ve been unable to provide any update on our website since Thursday night. Our website does not have any flaws; it‘s an issue of the BTCL. We’re trying to resolve it and hopefully the website will resume its service in an hour,” Meteorologist Omar Farook said. drew the attention of Disaster Management Department Director General Md Shahadat Hossain to the issue of the website and hotline going out of order.

“I tried the hotline too. I could listen to the forecast after trying for 10 minutes. Most of the people are trying to call now and the number of website users has increased as well. I’m looking into the issue,” he said.

Mir Mohammed Morshed, the BTCL Director for public relations and publication, said they talked to the Met Office and claimed the problem was not with the internet connection provided by the BTCL, but the website’s host.