IMD says India as a whole likely to receive normal monsoon, barring east and northeast; first rains hit Kerala

India is likely to receive a strong monsoon in July and dip only slightly below normal in August, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecasted, calming concerns of a mid-season downturn forecast.

The entire country is likely to get normal monsoon this year, except the east and northeast India, which is likely to witness "below normal" rainfall, IMD said on Wednesday.

With this announcement, the IMD has kept its prediction of "normal" monsoon unchanged in its second stage long-range forecast. The monthly rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be 101 percent of its Long Period Average (LPA) during July, and 94 percent of LPA during August – both with a model error of plus or minus nine percent.

 IMD says India as a whole likely to receive normal monsoon, barring east and northeast; first rains hit Kerala

Representational image. Reuters

Notably, anything between 90-96 percent of the LPA is considered as "below normal while rainfall in the range of 96-104 percent of the LPA is considered as "normal".

Also, rainfall is considered as "deficient" if it ranges below 90 percent of the LPA and "above normal" if it falls between 104 to 110 percent of the LPA. Above 110 percent of the LPA is considered as "excess" rainfall.

"Rainfall over the country as a whole for the 2018 southwest monsoon season (June to September) is most likely to be normal (96 to 104 percent of LPA). Quantitatively, the monsoon season (June to September) rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 97 percent of the LPA with a model error of plus or minus 4 percent," the IMD said. There is also a 43 percent probability of normal monsoon, it added.

Monsoon progression on course

On the progress of the monsoon, it said that the conditions are favourable for its further advancement into some parts of northeastern states. It added that the conditions are also likely to become favourable for further advance of the southwest monsoon into some more parts of south peninsula around 3 June.

"Rainfall activity is likely to increase over parts of Maharashtra and Goa states from 6 June," the IMD said.

Importantly, in the first long-range forecast last month, the IMD had predicted that the country is likely to get 97 percent of the LPA (normal monsoon) with an error margin of plus or minus five percent.

"Region-wise, the seasonal rainfall is likely to be 100 percent of LPA over northwest India (comprising states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi) 99 percent of LPA over Central India, 95 percent of LPA over South Peninsula and 93 percent of LPA over east and northeast India (West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and the northeastern states) all with a model error of plus or minus eight percent," it added.

According to Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, June is likely to get 111 percent of rainfall, which falls in the "excess" category. However, July and August are expected to witness 97 and 96 percent of the LPA respectively, which comes under the "normal" category

Further, on the monsoon activity, as per the Skymet, it is expected to revive in September and is likely to record rainfall of 101 percent of the LPA.

Southwest monsoon hits Kerala, ahead of schedule

The rainy season arrived in India almost three days ahead of the forecast with Kerala coasts receiving the first showers of the Southwest monsoon, the IMD said on Tuesday.

"Widespread rainfall occurred over Kerala during the past three-four days. The 14 rainfall monitoring stations for Monsoon onset over Kerala have reported more than 60 percent rainfall since 25 May," the IMD said.

The Southwest monsoon has advanced into remaining parts of southeast Arabian Sea, Comorin – Maldives area, entire Lakshadweep, some parts of Tamil Nadu and some more parts of southwest, central and northeast Bay of Bengal. The monsoon marks the beginning of the rainy season as it advances northward.

The southwest monsoon is responsible for about 70 percent of the country's annual rainfall and is critical to the economy, that is still largely dependent on agriculture.

South, northeast likely to receive below normal rainfall

South and northeast India are likely to receive below normal rainfall this monsoon, the IMD said on Wednesday.

The forecast of below normal monsoon rainfall for the south is bad news for farmers in the region. Rainfall has been erratic and uneven in recent years, leading to a water scarcity.

Good rains are also crucial for the fortunes of the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party governments in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, where state elections are due later this year.

Odisha, Maharashtra prepare for flooding

Ahead of the onset of the monsoon, the Odisha government has asked all the 30 district officials to be prepared for the possible flood and stock adequate food grains in remote areas which are prone to flood, official sources told PTI.

The instructions were given by Special Relief Commissioner & Commissioner-cum-Secretary (Disaster Management) BP Sethi in a review meeting on the preparedness for the possible floods during the monsoon, PTI said.

The Additional District Magistrates (ADMs) and District Emergency Officers (DEOs) were present in the meeting, the sources said.

The district authorities have been instructed to furnish their updated District Disaster Management Plan (DDMP) by 10 June for approval by the State Disaster Management Authority.

On Tuesday, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis held a meeting with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) officers and heads of other civic authorities to take stock of the monsoon preparedness in the flood-prone state.

Referring to a large number of waterlogging incidents that were reported in Mumbai last year, the chief minister said, “All these sensitive sites should be focussed and infrastructure should be in place.”

According to a report in The Indian Express, there is an anticipation of increased trouble this year due to the ongoing metro work and hence Fadnavis alerted all authorities to be better equipped to deal with the situation. “There should be perfect coordination between MMRDA, BMC, railways, state government departments and all related institutions,” he said.

Heatwave respite after 20 June

Heat wave-like conditions continue in the national capital with average maximum temperatures soaring around the 45 degree Celsius mark, four notches above the season's average. The Met Department, meanwhile, has said that the monsoon rains are not arriving before 20 June.

On Tuesday, temperatures were over 40.0 degrees at most parts of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Vidarbha; at many parts of interior Odisha and Rayalaseema and at one or two pockets of Jammu division, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat region, Saurashtra and Kutch, east Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, north interior Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Arctic weather could impact monsoon

As per an IndiaSpend analysis, meteorologists at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) in Pune are keeping a close eye on unfolding weather conditions at the Arctic Circle–5,000 kilometres away–for their potential to help forecast, and possibly impact this year’s monsoon.

Data spanning the years 1951 to 2014 show that temperature and pressure conditions at specific locations in the Arctic region during the pre-monsoon period correlate with the Indian summer monsoon rainfall, according to recent research led by Santosh B Kakade, a scientist at the IITM, the report said.

The summer monsoon contributes more than 80 percent of Indian rainfall. The accuracy of these forecasts impacts India’s vast farm sector as well as the overall Indian economy, and 17 percent of the world’s population.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: May 31, 2018 12:43:42 IST