IMD sees monsoon rains picking up pace in first week of August

Government forecaster India Meteorological Department (IMD) says rainfall was 4% below the long-period average for the country as a whole


Regions in Assam and Meghalaya saw extremely heavy rainfall at the beginning of the week. Photo: AFP
Regions in Assam and Meghalaya saw extremely heavy rainfall at the beginning of the week. Photo: AFP

New Delhi: After a slowdown in most parts of the country in the past week, the monsoon is expected to see a pickup in north-west and central India in the first week of August.

Government forecaster India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Thursday said rainfall was 4% below the long-period average (the average of rainfall over the past 50 years) for the country as a whole. Only the southern peninsula, east and north-east India recorded above-normal rainfall. Regions in Assam and Meghalaya saw extremely heavy rainfall at the beginning of the week.

A report released on Wednesday by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority showed more than 1.66 million people have been affected in 21 districts of the state by floods in eight rivers, including the Brahmaputra.

“Rainfall is mostly well distributed now across the country and there is enough soil moisture. Gujarat and Saurashtra have been problematic, but these areas will receive rainfall in the coming week,” said N. Chattopadhyay, deputy director general of the agricultural meteorology division at IMD, Pune.

In the initial part of August, central, north-west and peninsular regions will receive normal to above-normal rainfall. The east will receive below-normal rainfall, IMD said. So far, 80% of the country’s area has received normal to excess rainfall and 20% has received deficient rains. Saurashtra and Gujarat are facing the highest rainfall deficit in the country of 57% and 43% from the long-period average, respectively. But the coming week may hold good news.

“Scattered, light rains are also expected over Saurashtra and Kutch, with isolated moderate spells. However, the moderate spells are likely to bring down rain deficiency in the state to an extent,” said private weather forecaster Skymet on its website on Thursday.

Gujarat and Odisha, where rains have been less than normal are unlikely to impact overall crop production, a report from CRISIL Research said on Wednesday. The report added rain-fed groundnut production in Gujarat, which accounts for 39% of total production in India, is vulnerable. “The farmers have been advised to grow castor as an alternative crop instead of groundnut,” Chattopadhyay added.

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