New Delhi: Southwest monsoon is likely to hit the coast of Kerala, the gateway to Indian subcontinent, by 28 or 30 May, a couple of days earlier than usual, private weather forecaster Skymet said on Thursday.
State forecaster Indian Meterological Department (IMD) will give its forecast on 15 May. A senior IMD official said that conditions are ideal for the monsoon to reach the Andaman and Nicobar Islands between 15 and 20 May.
According to Skymet, rain clouds will be over the islands between 18 and 20 May. “Thereafter, Southwest Monsoon is likely to arrive over Kerala between May 28 and May 30, simultaneously covering some parts of Northeast India,” according to statement by Skymet.
IMD had earlier forecast above-normal rainfall in the June to September monsoon season with a 94% probability that monsoon will be normal to excess, bringing cheer to farmers and policy makers alike.
The country’s rain-fed farm sector has faced monsoon failures for two years in a row. A good monsoon is crucial for India, where 44% of total food production is dependent on rain-fed farming and the June-September southwest monsoon brings 80% of annual rainfall.
According to Skymet, the monsoon will move faster in the eastern part of the country as compared to the western parts. Rain clouds are expected to reach Kolkata by 10 June, Mumbai by 12-14 June, and Delhi by 1 July.
Advancement of monsoon is likely to be staggered over Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, but most of these states will be covered by 25 June. Monsoon will cover the entire country by 15 July, except west Rajasthan.
“A depression and then a cyclonic storm is expected to form in the Bay of Bengal around 17 or 18 May. When such systems form, they induce south westerly winds to flow across the southern peninsula,” said Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist at Skymet.
Palawat added that rainfall will increase in Kerala in the last week of May.
Last year was the second consecutive year of monsoon failure in India with a 14% deficit, which was primarily attributed to the 2015-16 El Nino. The weather phenomenon, which is associated with droughts in India, is fast weakening as the tropical Pacific Ocean continues to cool.