Four days after missing its date with the country, the crucial South West Monsoon has finally hit Kerala.
"South West Monsoon has arrived," Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) Director General L S Rathore said today, after the weather officials studied the rain pattern in Kerala over the last two days.
Rathore said that there was "sluggish march" in the onset phase. Monsoon normally hits Kerala on June 1 but this year, Met department had predicted that it will hit the state on June 5.
Since yesterday, the MeT department had been keeping a close watch on the rainfall and the wind pattern in the region before declaring the arrival of monsoon.
"We have 13 stations in Kerala and one in Karnataka that have recorded more than 2.5 mm of rainfall over the past two days-- one of the most important criteria to declare its arrival," said Rathore.
Continuous rain for over 48 hours with a westerly windspeed of 15 to 20 knots is among two critical parameters for declaring the arrival of monsoon, which is crucial for the country and its agro-based economy.
Rainfall occurred at many places over Kerala and at a few places over Lakshadweep and north interior Karnataka.
Isolated rainfall occurred over Coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, Coastal and South interior Karnataka in the last 48 hours.
After four years of normal and above-normal monsoon, India is expected to have below normal monsoon this year with rainfall projected to be 95 per cent, which will be disappointing for the farming community.
Officials in the weather department had said the monsoon is expected to be below normal because of El-Nino effect, which is generally associated with the warming of ocean water.
Since 2005, monsoon rains have arrived over the Kerala coast only once on June 1 — last year. Other years, the arrivals have been earlier or delayed by a few days.
“Delay in arrival of monsoon rains for a couple of days is normal as the rains spread across three to four months,” an IMD official said.
Monsoon rains covers most parts of the country during June and July. Even the rains in August and September are attributed to the monsoon phenomenon.
In recent weeks, concern has been raised about the adverse impact of El Nino on the monsoon rains. “Once the monsoon enters the Kerala coast, we will monitor its