This year, IMD had earlier predicted monsoon to hit Kerala on June 1 and so far, the department has not issued any revised advisory.
Monsoon in Kerala: Kerala could get monsoon earlier this year! The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has revised the date for onset of monsoon in Andaman and Nicobar, setting it for six days before the earlier expected date. The forecast now says that monsoon will hit the islands on May 16. This is likely to, in turn, cause an earlier onset of monsoon in Kerala, as normally, Kerala starts receiving monsoon rains around 10-11 days after Andaman and Nicobar, according to a report in PTI.
This year, IMD had earlier predicted monsoon to hit Kerala on June 1 and so far, the department has not issued any revised advisory. However, an earlier onset of monsoon in the southern mainland state is a reason for worry.
Over the last two years, heavy monsoon rains caused by deep depression have caused the state to be flooded, with the floods in 2018 being at an unprecedented worst in over 100 years. Out of the 14 districts in the state, 13 were in deep distress due to the severity of the floods, as the state had received 42% more rainfall than expected, according to IMD data cited by UN’s Reliefweb study report on the floods. Since the monsoon had already started on June 1, by the time the rains intensified, the dams in the state were already almost full, making the situation worse. According to official figures, over 450 people died due to the floods and nearly 150 people went missing. The state was again flooded last year, in which another 101 people lost their lives.
The state has already been receiving heavy rainfall every few days over the past month and extended monsoon caused due to low pressure could put the state authorities on edge. The monsoon rains would also bring with them more problems this year, since the world is already grappling with the coronavirus pandemic. The southern state has controlled two outbreaks of the virus so far, and a third bout has cropped up with the return of NRIs stranded abroad.
In such a situation, heavy monsoon rains similar to those in the last two years could add to the woes of the people in the state. Not only would this put additional strain on the rescue and relief operations in the state, it would also pose the problem of how relief camps would be managed while maintaining social distancing norms to avoid the spread of the virus. The dual attack of the virus and the floods could prove to be a fatal combination for the state and ensuring that even in panic, people and the relief teams take measures to avoid the spread of the virus could be a herculean task.
Apart from that, an added important factor is that over the past two years, the state had been using its medical colleges and hospitals as relief camps. This year, however, with the pandemic already gripping the world and the hospitals, medical colleges and healthcare staff are already too busy in tackling it. For Keralites, the concern looms large as to whether another flood-like situation may emerge. Also, this poses several challenges for the local administration as all efforts are directed for maintaining and monitoring quarantine facilities for those who need to be isolated.
Moreover, the state would also have to look for additional help to provide care to those in need, since medical professionals are dealing with the pandemic.
While any forecast regarding Kerala monsoon from the IMD is awaited, the preparedness of Kerala in tackling any challenges that may come up is expected to be on a stronger footing as the state has tackled several crisies in an efficient manner till date.