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First heavy monsoon rainfall likely in parts of north India

New Delhi: From Sunday, Punjab and Haryana are likely to experience continuous rainfall typical of the rainy season as the monsoon trough is likely to shift to its normal position, weather forecasting agencies said. Since the beginning of July, the northern plains have received only patchy rains as the axis of the monsoon trough had been oscillating north and south frequently (towards and away from the Himalayan foothills), Skymet Weather said.

The trough will move north and stabilize for the next 3-4 days, it said, adding a significant increase in rainfall in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab can be expected from July 19-21. For the same period, the IMD has issued a red warning for heavy rainfall in West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.

The prediction in increase in intensity of rainfall is also aided by a convergence of moist southerly, south-westerly winds from Bay of Bengal in eastern India and from the Arabian Sea over northwest India at lower tropospheric levels.

Though the expected downpour is likely to offer some relief to people in north India from the sultry weather, it almost certainly will "accentuate" the existing flood situation in Assam and other northeastern states and may trigger landslides, the IMD said.

The floods in Assam have submerged vast tracts of human habitation and farmland in 26 districts, affecting 27.64 lakh people. Three more people died on Saturday due to the flooding, raising the death toll in the state to 79. Another 26 have died in landslides.

Dhubri remains the worst-hit district in Assam with over 4.69 lakh people suffering.

According to Assam State Disaster Management Authority, 2,678 villages are under water and about 1.16 lakh hectares of crop areas have been damaged. Authorities have set up 649 relief camps and distribution centres in 21 districts, where more than 47,000 displaced people are taking shelter.

In Bihar, which has recorded 41 per cent more precipitation than normal between July 1 and 17, the intensity of rainfall is likely to increase from Sunday and all districts are expected to receive rainfall for another week. In Uttar Pradesh too, forecasts have said that rain and thundershowers are likely at most places from July 19-21.

"The monsoon trough has started shifting north. Light-to-moderate rainfall is expected in Delhi over the next two days," Kuldeep Srivastava of the India Meteorology Department, said. He, however, said "good" rain is unlikely in the capital for a week. Light-to-moderate rainfall occurred in parts of Rajasthan, where the monsoon activity has remained subdued like Delhi, bringing relief to people from sultry weather.

The Shimla Meteorological Centre in Himachal Pradesh has issued a weather warning for very heavy rainfall for July 19 and July 20, an official said. The orange' warning is for weather conditions that have the capacity to impact significantly.

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