After entering Kerala coast on Sunday, progress of the southwest monsoon has been slow and is expected to pick up pace from June 17, a senior official with the ministry of earth sciences said on Friday.
“The current pace of monsoon progress is sluggish but between June 17-23, large parts of the country are expected to receive intense rainfall,” M Ravichandran, secretary, ministry of earth sciences, told FE. He said that a few weeks of sluggish progress of monsoon is quite natural and the country is expected to receive ‘normal’ rainfall during monsoon months (June-September).
India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday said that southwest monsoon has covered entire north-eastern states and some parts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim and predicted intense spell of rainfall activities in these areas.
IMD also predicted widespread light to moderate rainfall with thunderstorm and lightning over coastal Karnataka, south interior Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep and isolated to scattered rainfall over Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, North Interior Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, during next five days.
It also stated that heat wave conditions would prevail in isolated pockets over northwest and central India in the next three days.
On Tuesday, the met department said that monsoon rains this year will be more than predicted by it in April, at 103% of the benchmark long period average with 81% chance of the rainfall being either “normal” or above. The rains due to the annual phenomenon will also be well-distributed spatially across the four broad regions and most parts of the country, the agency said.
In its forecast for June, the met department has predicted a ‘normal rainfall in the range of 92-108 % of LPA.
If the forecast holds good, India will receive normal monsoon rainfall for the fourth year in a row. Key kharif crops are paddy, moong, arhar, soyabean and coarse cereals.
Meanwhile, the average water level in 140 major reservoirs in the country at present is up by 7% on year, the Central Water Commission (CWC) has said. The water level is also 33% higher than the average of the last 10 years.
However, reservoir water level is down by around 26% and 9% respectively from the year-ago period in eastern and western regions. Officials said water level in reservoirs is set to rise in coming months with the progress of monsoon.
Reservoirs currently have 54.27 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water, which is about 31% of their combined capacity. A year ago, 50.74 BCM water was available in these reservoirs, while the average of the last 10 years is 40.82 BCM, according to the latest CWC note.
“Current water level of reservoirs was 107% of the live storage of the corresponding period of last year and 133% of storage of the average of last 10 years,” the commission said.
In terms of regional variations, 25 reservoirs in the central region (Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) and 39 in the southern region (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu) have more water than last year and the average of last 10 years.
However, water level in 21 reservoirs in the eastern region (Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Nagaland and Bihar) is currently lower than a year ago and the average of the last 10 years. In 46 reservoirs in the western region (Gujarat and Maharashtra) water level at present is less than the corresponding period last year, but higher than the average storage of last decade.
Nine reservoirs in the northern region (Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan) have more water at present compared to last year, but less than last 10 year’s average.