New Delhi: Private weather forecaster Skymet Weather Wednesday predicted normal monsoon for the year, ruling out any probability of drought.

This year’s June to September monsoon is likely to remain normal at 100% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average (LPA) of 887mm, Skymet said. Last year’s monsoon was below normal, with countrywide rainfall standing at 95% of LPA.

The forecast asserted there was zero per cent chance of drought. “There is only 20% probability that the monsoon could be below normal. While there is 55% probability that it would be normal, which would mean a seasonal rainfall of 96-104% of LPA," read the forecast.

While a normal monsoon is reason to cheer in a country that depends heavily on rains for farming, it is significant to note that the agency’s forecast had shown major deviations from the actual monsoon in 2015 and 2016.

The agency had predicted normal monsoon at 102% (+/-4%) for 2015 which turned out to be a drought year with rainfall 86% of LPA. In 2016, it predicted excess rainfall at 105% (+/-4%) of LPA; however, it turned out to be 97%. However, the 2017 monsoon forecast was accurate.

“We had predicted that monsoon would be below normal at 95% in 2017 and it turned out to be below normal. Our forecast for monsoon in 2012 and 2013 was also accurate. Though, we had a massive deviation in 2015," said Jatin Singh, chief executive officer (CEO), Skymet told Mint over the phone.

As per the forecast, the onset month of June and the withdrawal month of September could witness good countrywide rainfall distribution, but July and August may see comparatively less rainfall.

Highlighting that pre-Monsoon heat is considered as a positive indicator and points towards normal monsoon, Singh said, “Devolving La Niña and gradual warming of Pacific is ruling out the possibility of excess rains."

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