The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said the southwest monsoon has commenced its withdrawal from the northwest region two weeks behind the usual schedule.
“The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from some parts of west Rajasthan today (Thursday),” IMD said in a statement.
The monsoon usually starts withdrawing in the first week of September.
Meanwhile, the Met department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places over Konkan, Goa, south Gujarat region and Maharashtra, West Bengal, Sikkim, Saurashtra and Kutch.
With just two weeks left for complete withdrawal of the monsoon, last week saw scanty rainfall activities across the country with cumulative rainfall of 29% below the benchmark — Long Period Average (LPA). This has pulled down the cumulative rainfall during this monsoon season (June-September) so far to ‘below normal’ level.
As per IMD data, the quantum of rainfall during June 1-September 15 has been more than 766 mm, which is 5% less than the LPA. Till now, 16% of the country’s area has got excess rainfall while 70% has received normal rainfall.
Only 14% of the areas has received deficient rainfall.
With the exception of Punjab, Gujarat region and coastal Karnataka where rainfall has been deficient, most of the regions across the country have so far received normal or excess monsoon rainfall.
According to data released till last week by the agriculture ministry, the kharif crops sowing so far has surpassed last year’s sowing by more than 4%.
With the exception of sowing of cotton and sugarcane, which are down by 11% and 8% respectively, all the key kharif crops cultivation have exceeded last year’s figures.
The agriculture ministry has set the country’s grain production target at a record 270.10 million tonne for the 2016-17 crop year (July-June), up 6.7% from the actual grain production of 253.23 million tonne in 2015-16.
Earlier in the month, the IMD said rainfall during second half (August–September) would be ‘above normal’ at 106% of LPA, with a model error of ± 8%.
The Met department also reiterated its June forecast by stating that overall rainfall during monsoon season (June-September) will be 106% of LPA following two successive years of ‘deficient’ monsoon (2014 & 2015).
While June rainfall constitute 18% of the total rainfall received during monsoon period (June- September), the showers during July (33%) and August (29%) are critical for kharif crops sowing.