New Delhi: Annual monsoon rains have arrived at Kerala coast in southern India on Friday, five days later than expected, officials at the weather office said.
"Southwest Monsoon has set in over Kerala, today, 5 June, 2015 as against the normal date of 1 June," the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
"It has further advanced into entire south Arabian Sea, some more parts of Central Arabian Sea, entire Lakshadweep area and Kerala, some parts of coastal and southern interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, remanining parts of southeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of central and northeast Bay of Bengal," it said.
The IMD added that conditions are favourable for further advance of Southwest Monsoon into some parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, some more parts of Rayalseema and coastal Andhra Pradesh, and northeast India in next 48 hours.
On 2 June, India scaled down this year's June to September monsoon rainfall forecast citing an El Nino weather pattern, raising fears of the first drought in six years.
El Nino, an event marked by warmer surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, increases the chance of droughts in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, Southeast Asia and India.
After missing its normal date of onset, Southwest Monsoon was expected to hit Kerala coast on 5 June.
"Conditions are becoming favourable for the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala around 5 June," IMD had said in a statement.
Though the normal date for onset of monsoon over Kerala is June 1, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted that it will hit the southern state on 30 May this year, but later revised it to 5 June, blaming its "sluggish" pace.
June 1 also marks the official onset of rains in the country.
Last year too, monsoon was delayed and hit the Kerala coast on 6 June.
The IMD had said on 4 June that there had been an increase in the rainfall activity in Kerala and monsoon could hit the state anytime.
"The trough of low over southeast Arabian sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area is more marked today. Under its influence, rainfall activity over Kerala has increased.
"Winds flow over Southeast Arabian sea are also becoming favourable. The conditions continue to be favourable for onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala during next 48 hours," the IMD had said in a statement.
Private forecasting agency Skymet had also said that rainfall was likely to get intense in the next two days.
"While the rainfall remained minimal in the last couple of days over Kerala, it picked up in the last 24 hours. Rainfall activity is likely to get intense in the next two days and more showers are expected over the state and adjoining parts. As we move ahead, more parts of Kerala are likely to be bathed by good pre-monsoon rain, ushering in monsoon in India," Skymet said.
The MET department declares onset of monsoon if 60 per cent of the available 14 stations - Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Allapuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudulu and Mangalore - report rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days. It also has coupled with wind pattern and its speed.
Agriculture, which employs about 60 per cent of the country's population, is heavily dependent on the monsoon as only 40 per cent of the cultivable area is under irrigation.
Last year, the country had received 12 per cent less rains, which hit production of grains, cotton and oilseeds. Due to poor monsoon, agriculture growth stood at 0.2 per cent in the 2014-15 fiscal.
In April last year, the MET department made its initial forecast of 95 per cent, which was later revised to 93 per cent in June. However, by the end of the season, India received only 88 per cent of the LPA.
According to the government's estimate, total foodgrains production has declined to 251.12 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from a record production of 265.04 million tonnes in the previous year.
Updated Date: Jun 05, 2015 15:08:14 IST