2016 monsoon rains could fall below average; may start withdrawing in next 3-4 days

The country's Southwest monsoon rains is likely to fall below average this year due to the absence of the La Nina weather pattern, a Reuters report said quoting two senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials on Wednesday.

Rainfall in September could be up to 15 percent less than average, the Reuters report added.



This year's below average rains, after two straight years of drought, could cut yields of summer-sown crops that are currently ripening for harvesting and also hit the planting of winter-sown crops like wheat and chickpeas.

Earlier on Tuesday, IMD said the Southwest Monsoon could start withdrawing in the next 3-4 days.

"Conditions are becoming favourable for withdrawal of Southwest monsoon from some parts of West Rajasthan during next 3-4 days," the IMD said.

The normal withdrawal of monsoon from West Rajasthan is September 1. Interestingly, it is also the frontiers where monsoon reaches last and withdraws first.

Last month, the IMD forecast above average monsoon rains, crucial for watering nearly half of the country's farmlands that lack irrigation facilities.

The IMD had forecast surplus rains in August and September, largely because of the La Nina, a weather phenomenon that cools the waters of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of South America that typically causes stronger monsoons across Asia, said one of the senior IMD officials.

"La Nina didn't develop. Instead we got lower rains in the second half," the official said.

Since the start of the monsoon season on June 1, rains have been 5 percent below average.

"Our forecast of a surplus rainfall has gone wrong," D. S. Pai, IMD's head of the long range forecast, confirmed to Reuters. "We will receive less than 100 percent rainfall this season."

India's weather office defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire four-month season. The IMD in August forecast monsoon rains at 106 percent or above normal.

Last week, a U.S. government weather forecaster said La Nina conditions were no longer likely to develop during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2016/17. In June, the agency said there was a 75 percent chance La Nina would develop.

With agencies

Updated Date: Sep 14, 2016 18:54 PM