Southwest Monsoon has made an unusually early date with the Indian peninsula, splashing in through its usual gateway of Kerala on Tuesday. India Meteorological Department (IMD) had predicted that its early entry would be on May 29 (Tuesday), while private forecaster Skymet maintained that it had landed on Monday itself. It’s official. In its 8.15 am bulletin on Tuesday, IMD has declared the monsoon arrival in Kerala in the next 24 hours, after parameters measuring the consistency of the rainfall, intensity, cloudiness and wind speed were satisfied. According to the IMD spokesperson, “if after May 10, 60% of the available 14 stations – Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Allapuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudulu and Mangalore, – report rainfall of 2.5 mm or more for two consecutive days, the onset of Monsoon over Kerala can be declared on the 2nd day.”
IMD also looks for criterea relating to wind field and INSAT derived Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR). Although June 1 is the time-honoured entry date for Monsoon, all weather forecasters had been unanimous that it would be much earlier this season. First week of May had notched 89% surplus rains in Kerala. But, with Cyclone Meknu in the Arabian Sea mopping off the humidity, the pre-monsoon activities had gone slightly lighter in the third week of May.
While the punctuality of monsoon is a key propellent of rural economy, rural demand and thereby FMCG stocks, the monsoon arrival is also a watchworthy marker for use of low-cost hydel power. For instance, Kerala has 2160 MW installed capacity of hydel power through 23 projects.
“If all the reservoirs are 66% full, the current requirement is met by generating 2,749 million units of hydel power, without resorting to excessive buying of costly power from private power markets,” M Sivasankar, principal secretary to the Kerala chief minister, told FE.
Meanwhile, Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) has warned of high waves in the range of 3.5 – 4.3 meters (10 to 14 feet high waves) during 5.30 pm on May 28 to 11.30 pm on May 30 along Kerala coast from Vizhinjam to Kasaragod. Kerala State Disaster Management Authority has sounded a high alert advising the maritime port to hoist cautionary Signal 3 which warns of adverse weather conditions with gusty winds and high waves in the sea.
“We have constituted a 24-hour Monsoon Calamity Monitoring Cell (MCMC), to minimise the monsoon calamities,” said Ernakulam district collector K Muhammed Y Safeerulla. The IMD has already predicted normal monsoon for this year by pegging the season’s rainfall at 97% of the long period average (LPA), according to K Santhosh, Director, Met Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. “Rainfall between 96% and 104% of LPA during the June-September monsoon period is considered normal,” he said.
Beyond Kerala, the monsoon winds are expected to fork out to two branches – the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch. The former is slow in progress, while the latter is rapid. The progress of the monsoon winds beyond Kerala is in the form of two branches the Arabian Sea branch and the Bay of Bengal branch. The Arabian Sea branch advances slowly, while the Bay of Bengal branch advances rather rapidly. By June-end, they are in place and progressing, all over the country