The monsoon may arrive in the country at the southern Kerala coast around June 5, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday.
In 2013, the monsoon hit Kerala on June 1, two days ahead of the forecast, and the four-month long rainy season turned bountiful, pushing grains output to a record in the world's second-most populous country.
According to Met departmentís first forecast, the monsoon rains will likely be 95% of long period average (LPA), or just below the Ďnormalí range of 96-104% of LPA. What is worrying is that even the first forecast gives a 23% probability of a Ďdeficití monsoon, which implies rainfall below 90% of the LPA, calculated on the basis of the average annual rainfall (89 cm) recorded between 1951 and 2000.
The first monsoon forecast for the year 2014 released in April by India Meteorological Department (IMD) gives another 33% probability to Ďbelow normalí monsoon and 35% chances for Ďnormalí monsoon.
The met department's next forecast, the more definitive one since it comes after the onset of monsoon, will be announced in June.
Monsoon rains are crucial for agriculture as about 40% of the cultivable area is under irrigation and around 55% of the foodgrains production, mainly paddy and coarse grains, is contributed by kharif or summer crop. The monsoon rains during the June-September period also helps boosting the soil moisture for the rabi or winter crop.
Monsoon to hit Kerala 4 days late
(PTI) The southwest monsoon is likely to set over Kerala on June 5, four days behind schedule, the Indian Meteorological Department said here today.
The forecast comes with an error of plus or minus four days. The normal date of onset of monsoon over the state is June 1.
Last year as against the forecast of arrival of monsoon on June 3, the rains had actually arrived in Kerala on June 1. A year earlier, the monsoon had arrived on June 5.
The southwest monsoon is crucial for the farming community which heavily depends on the rainfall, particularly for kharif crops such as rice, soyabean, cotton and maize. The country's 60 per cent farm land is rain-fed.
The Met department had earlier said that the country could see below normal rainfall this year at 95 per cent rainfall because of the El-Nino effect which is generally associated with the warming of ocean water.
In a statement today, the Met department said the monsoon is likely to advance over Andaman Sea