SW Monsoon March Halts, Yet To Enter Sri Lanka

New Delhi, May 24: | Updated: May 25 2002, 05:30am hrs
The South West Monsoon is confounding the Weatherman. It has become static since May 18, refusing to move forward to Sri Lanka. This situation has left the Indian Meteorological Department guessing as to when the monsoon would touch the Kerala coast. Normally, the monsoon touches the Kerala coast on June 1, and before it touches the Kerala coast it covers mid-Sri Lanka by May 25.

On the current situation, the Sri Lankan Met department has stated, “some regional features are yet to appear in the atmosphere for the South West Monsoon to set in.” This was also confirmed by IMD director HR Hatwar.

Dr Hatwar, however, disagreed with the suggestion that the current global warming and El Nino factor emerging after July can impact the monsoon in the country, as has been stated by Met services of many countries in the region, including Sri Lanka. The Lankan Met department has stated, “this warm condition will continue...global seasonal forecasts indicate much significantly heavy rainfall only during the SW Monsoon in late May and June.” The Malaysian Met department said El Nino is likely to affect rains during October-December and the monsoon rains in the Sabah region after July.

Dr Hatwar admitted to FE that the forward march of the monsoon has been halted since May 18. The Northern limit of the SW Monsoon now lies at four points - 5 degree North Latitude and 83 degree East Longitude, 10 degree North Latitude and 87 degree East Longitude, 14 degree North Latitude and 93 degree East Longitude, and 16 degree North Latitude and 95 degree East Longitude. He also said the monsoon has covered so far the South Bay of Bengal.

He said the monsoon entered the southern part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands a day ahead of schedule on May 15. It proceeded to cover the entire Andaman & Nicobar isles and the South Bay of Bengal by May 18 and thereafter it has been static.

If the approach of the monsoon will be delayed, he said, it depends on the developing situation. Even if the monsoon enters Lanka late and if a heavy surge is there, it can then push the clouds forward to touch the Kerala coast on date. He also discounted the claim that scanty-to-deficient pre-monsoon rains in as many as 22 Met subdivisions this year is due to the global warming.