In much relief to a heavily agri-dependent economy, the Indian Meteorological Department has said monsoon has arrived at the coast of southern state of Kerala, two days ahead of the schedule, just as it had predicted earlier. This marks the onset of a season of rainfall widely eyed by the farmers across the nation to irrigate their fields and grow the produce on which the country feeds.
The monsoon rains have also simultaneously arrived in India’s northeastern states, helped by a cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal. The southwest monsoon delivers about 70% of India’s annual rainfall.
El Nino concerns ease
Earlier last week, the met office had said that India is due to receive a ‘normal’ monsoon and more rainfall this year than the previous year, as the concerns over the El Nino weather condition has eased. It had also said it expects the monsoon to hit the coast of Kerala state by May 30, two days ahead of previous expectations. An official from India’s weather office had said earlier this month that the monsoon rains this year will be at 96% of the long-period average, reiterating the department’s forecast made in April.
The met department expects the El Nino conditions to remain neutral during monsoon season, and weaken during the second half of monsoon, an official had said earlier this month. The met department is due to update its forecast by the first week of June. Indian Meteorological Department defines 96%-104% rains of the long-period average as ‘normal’, that below 96% as ‘below normal’, and below 90% as ‘deficient’.
Cyclone Mora helps
Yesterday, a deep depression formed over the Bay of Bengal, turning into Cyclone ‘Mora’, which has apparently helped further advance the southwest monsoon. The met office had said yesterday that the Cyclone Mora would help the southwest monsoon to advance and settle in over the state of Kerala with the first rains expected around May 30-31. It had also said that this cyclone would bring heavy rainfalls to northeastern states of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.
The situation is also likely to bring monsoon to the eastern parts of India at around the same time as the southern state of Kerala, the met department had said. “Conditions are also favourable for the advance of southwest monsoon into northeast segment of India covering Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura during May 30-31,” it said in a bulletin. The met predicts heavy rains, accompanied by thunderstorms across Kerala, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar islands and in northeastern states during June 3-5.