New Delhi: India’s monsoon rains were 8% below normal in the week to 24 August, losing momentum from 26% above normal showers in the previous week, the weather office said on Thursday, with expectations of a return to normal next week.
August rains are important for vegetative growth of crops such as rice, cane, corn, cotton and soybean, which are planted in June and July.
About 60% of farms in India, one of the world’s biggest producers and consumers of crops, depend on the June-to-September monsoon rains for irrigation.
The below normal rains come after two consecutive weeks of substantially heavy showers and are not a cause for concern, said a senior weather official.
“There is no worry at all. Based on the inputs we have, next week’s rainfall is expected to be either normal or above normal,” B. P. Yadav, a director at the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD), told Reuters.
Rains were 14% above the long-term average in the week to 10 August.
Rains were 293 % above normal in rice and cotton growing Andhra Pradesh state. But another rice growing state, West Bengal, received 47% below normal showers.
In cane growing western parts of Maharashtra sate, monsoon was 30% above normal but northern areas of Uttar Pradesh state received 21% below average showers.
In its last forecast in July, the weather office said August-September rains would be 90% of the long-term average -- below what is considered normal at 96 to 104%.
It retained its earlier estimate of just below normal showers in the June-September season as a whole.