Weather office forecast: Better monsoon predicted; rainfall to log 103% of average
New Delhi: India's rain-fed agriculture region is set to receive above normal rainfall this monsoon season, the weather office said on Tuesday, raising hopes for a bumper farm output and reining in inflation.
"The average rainfall this monsoon season is expected to be 103% of the long period average," India Meteorological Department Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told reporters here.
In April, the IMD had said the country would receive normal rainfall — 99 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), which is the mean rainfall received over a 50-year-period from 1971-2020. The LPA for the entire country is 87 cm. The monsoon core zone — states ranging from Gujarat to Odisha that are dependent on rainfall for agriculture — is set to experience above normal rainfall at more than 106 per cent of the long period average, Mohapatra said.
He said central India and south peninsula are set to receive above normal rainfall, while north-east and north-west regions are likely to get normal rains.
This is the fourth consecutive year that India is likely to experience a normal monsoon. Earlier, India had witnessed normal monsoon from 2005-08 and 2010-13.
Mohapatra said in the near future, India could witness normal monsoons as the decadal epoch of below normal rains was nearing its end.
"We are now moving towards a normal monsoon epoch," he said.
Asked about the criticism faced by IMD for "hasty" declaration of monsoon onset over Kerala, Mohapatra said the weather office followed a scientific process to announce the onset and progress of monsoon. He asserted that 70 per cent of the weather stations in Kerala had reported fairly widespread rainfall and other parameters related to strong westerly winds and cloud formation over the region were fulfilled. Mohapatra said the prevailing La Nina conditions, which refer to the cooling of the equatorial Pacific region, were expected to continue till August and augur well for the monsoon rains in India.
However, the possibility of development of negative Indian Ocean Dipole, which refers to cooler than normal sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, could lead to below normal rainfall in extreme southwestern peninsula that includes Kerala.
Most parts of the country, barring J&K, Ladakh, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh, are expected to experience below normal maximum temperatures in June, Mohapatra said.
Meanwhile, monsoon is likely to progress into parts of North Bengal and Sikkim by Thursday, at least four to five days ahead of the rainy season's normal onset date, Regional MeT Director G K Das said in Kolkata on Tuesday.
Following the onset of the southwest monsoon in the northern districts, it will be possible to forecast the date for its progress into other parts of the state, he said.
"Conditions are favourable for the monsoon to make further progress over some parts of North Bengal and Sikkim within the next two to three days," Das added. He said that this year monsoon will enter the northern parts of West Bengal and Sikkim ahead of normal onset time by at least four to five days.
The normal onset date for monsoon in all parts of West Bengal is between June 10 and 15, Das said.
He said that Cooch Behar and Alipurduar are likely to experience heavy rain till Thursday morning and heavy to very heavy downpour thereafter while the other sub-Himalayan districts of Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri are likely to receive heavy rain from Thursday.
The MeT department forecast thunderstorms with lightning accompanied with gusty wind having speed from 30 to 40 kmph till Thursday at one or two places in all the districts of South Bengal, which are experiencing hot and discomforting humid weather.