New Delhi: The Southwest monsoon in Maharashtra and south India will be slightly weak for a month, private forecaster Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd said on Thursday.
“We are seeing a slowdown there. It (the rains) will pick up around mid-August,” the company said in a statement.
Last month, the agency had forecast that the June-September monsoon was likely to be normal though it said rain in Punjab and Haryana may fall short of the average for the period.
Skymet on Thursday predicted monsoon rain is likely to be patchy over north India, though a surge is expected next week, after which it is likely to slow down. “We are expecting a surge from 19-24 July in north India,” said Skymet chief executive Jatin Singh.
North India historically gets weak rain and is extensively dependent on irrigation to water crops. The region saw poor rain last year, squeezing the region’s groundwater levels. Skymet said there was a possibility that the surge in rain next week might not be able to fill the gap created by a deficient monsoon. It predicted that weakness in North India will persist in August and maybe even September.
According to Skymet, rain over the northeast region and West Bengal have been deficient so far this year and will continue to be weak.
Rain in India was 5% below average in the week ended 10 July, data from Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) showed last week, in a brief pullback for the four-month-long monsoon season that began in June with heavy early rainfall.
During the first five weeks of the monsoon season, rain was above average for each week with torrential early downpours causing floods and landslides in northern and eastern regions, displacing thousands and killing hundreds of people.
But crop-growing regions were not affected much by the floods and in most of these areas sowing has begun because of the above-average rain, which started slowing from the last week of June, giving room to expedite the last phase of summer planting. The June-September monsoon season is crucial for the 55% of India’s farmland without irrigation. A monsoon that avoids drought will mean higher rural incomes in the world’s second-most populous country, improving sales of everything from cars and refrigerators to gold.
Reuters contributed to this story.
Mint uses Skymet data for some weather-related content.