Monsoon hits Kerala marking official start of rainy season; IMD predicts normal rainfall but June showers to be hit by El-Nino

The Southwest Monsoon officially hit the Kerala coast Saturday, marking the start of the rainy season. The state was forewarned to expect heavy to very heavy rainfall till 10 June, after the intensity of the rainfall increased considerably in the state over the last three days.

Earlier, reports had said that the monsoon has been delayed in India by a week this year. "It is very likely to shift northwards gradually leading to favourable conditions for onset of Southwest Monsoon over Kerala around 8 June. Conditions are likely to become favourable for advance of southwest monsoon into some parts of northeastern states during next 3-4 days," the IMD said in its monsoon bulletin.

 Monsoon hits Kerala marking official start of rainy season; IMD predicts normal rainfall but June showers to be hit by El-Nino

Representational image. Reuters

On Thursday and Friday, Kochi, Alappuzha, and Thiruvananthapuram districts saw heavy rains, Skymet reported. The report said that coastal Karnataka has also been receiving good rainfall for a few days, which fulfilled the criteria for the 'onset' of monsoon for both states.

The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has issued an Orange alert (very heavy rain) for four districts — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha and Ernakulam — in Kerala for 10 June. An Orange alert has also been issued in Kollam and Alappuzha districts for 9 June. ANI also reported that a Yellow alert (heavy rain) has been issued in seven districts for 9 June and in five districts for 10 June.

Spells of heavy to very heavy rains are likely in a few parts of Kerala, and "vigourous" rainfall is expected to hit the state in the next four to five days. In coastal Karnataka, rainfall is likely to increase by 10 June even as the state will see a gradual increase in the intensity of the rain spells.

"So, Kerala, which at present is rain deficient by 56 percent and Coastal Karnataka which is deficient by 73 percent, can soon cover up for their rain deficiency. These might even become rain surplus in the next five to six days," Skymet reported.

The news will also augur well for the country as large parts have been witnessing agriculture distress and water levels in reservoirs in west and south India have dipped to low levels.

Most of rural India depends on the four-month monsoon season, which accounts for 75 per cent of the annual rainfall, due to a lack of adequate alternative source of irrigation. A good monsoon has a direct impact on the economy as agriculture remains the major contributor to India's GDP.

The north Indian plains, central India and parts of south India have been recording temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius. Mercury has soared to over 50 degrees in parts of Rajasthan.

However, Mumbai in Maharashtra is in for a wait for the monsoon even as several other parts of the state have received pre-monsoon showers. The onset of monsoon in Mumbai is likely to be only by 14 June, whereas all four meteorological divisions of Maharashtra — Vidarbha, Marathwada, Madhya Maharashtra and South Konkan and Goa — have observed rains over Thursday and Friday.

Delhi, too, will have to wait longer for respite from the heat.  On Thursday, IMD said the arrival of monsoon in Delhi is likely to be delayed by two-three days from its usual onset on June 29. However, Skymet said it may take at least a week longer.  The city is likely to receive normal monsoon. Northwest India too is likely to have normal monsoon.

Monsoon is also likely to hit the North East over Saturday and Sunday. Kolkata in West Bengal, however, is likely to see erratic rain.

However, several parts of the country also faced a heatwave even as the onset of the monsoon neared. On Friday, many districts recorded a temperature of 47°Celsius or more, with at least four places in Maharashtra recording an average of 47°Celsius.

The IMD has also predicted 'severe' heatwave conditions in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Vidarbha in Maharashtra, and heatwave conditions in north Haryana, south Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh over Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.

The heatwave, having intensified in India in the duration of May, has resulted in the deaths of at least 12 people in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh, according to reports.

The IMD declares onset of monsoon over Kerala if after May 10, sixty 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 millimetres or more for two consecutive days.

This is one of the important parameters to declare the onset of monsoon. The other two factors are speed of the westerlies and long-wave radiation.

In 2016, monsoon arrived on the same day.

The IMD has made a forecast of 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) which falls on the border of normal and below normal rainfall. The LPA of the season rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1951-2000 is 89 cm.

It has, however, maintained monsoon will be “normal” for 2019.

The rains in June are likely to be impacted due to El-Nino, although a weak one. It is generally believed that El-Nino, associated with the heating of Pacific waters, has an impact on monsoon.

The delay in monsoon has no correlation to the overall quantum of the rainfall. However, monsoon will be late in other parts of the country due to its overall delay.

Monsoon arrived in the south Andaman Sea, its first Indian outpost before it reaches the mainland, on 18 May.

Last month, the IMD said monsoon will reach Kerala on 6 June, a delay of six days from its usual onset. However, conditions were not favourable for its progress.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2019 12:56:43 IST