India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Tuesday stated that the southwest monsoon (June-September) is likely to hit Kerala coast on May 30 with a model error of ± 4 days. Monsoon usually arrives over Kerala in the first week of June, then covers rest of the country during next one month or so. “The statistical model forecast suggests that the monsoon onset over Kerala in this year is likely to be close to the normal date,” IMD said in a statement.
The met department also stated ‘conditions are now becoming favourable for the further advance of southwest monsoon into parts of Bay of Bengal and remaining parts of Andaman Sea, Andaman & Nicobar Islands during the next 48 hours. IMD director general K J Ramesh last week had told FE that the met department stands by first monsoon forecast released last month where it had predicted that ‘normal’ rainfall this year at 96% of the benchmark Long Period Average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5%.
IMD will release the second forecast for the season in the first week of June. Ramesh had stated that ‘there is a relatively moderate possibility of El Nino conditions, which adversely impacts progress of monsoon rains, developing during second half of the monsoon months (June-September) and neutral conditions of Indian Ocean Dipole would likely to result in ‘good distribution of rainfall across the country’.
Subsequently the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, stating that prospects of a strong El Nino developing in the Equatorial Pacific have receded. Meanwhile, in its advisory for the farmers,the met department has urged undertaking of nursery preparation for viruppu rice in Kerala utilising pre-monsoon showers while in case of rain deficient areas, it urged farmers to commence planting of pepper and prepare the field for rice crop.
For Karnataka farmers, IMD’s agro-advisory bulletin called for sowing of pulses like cowpea, green gram, black gram, horse gram, field bean, chilli etc. and green manure crops. For North-eastern states farmers, IMD advisory has urged farmers to continue nursery for raising main kharif rice. Last year, the IMD had made an initial forecast of ‘above normal’ rainfall of 106% of LPA, but the actual cumulative rainfall was 97 of the LPA, which falls in ‘normal’ category.
Because of normal rainfall last year, the country’s foodgrains production in 2016-17 crop year (July-June) is estimated to reach an all-time record of 273.38 million tonne (MT), which is 8.7% more than the previous year. Due to two consecutive years of deficient monsoons (2014 & 2015), the foodgrains production went down to 252 MT in 2014-15 and 2015-16 crop years from 265 MT reported in 2013-14.