New Delhi: In a piece of good news, the south-west monsoon is expected to hit the Kerala coast within next 24 hours.

The Indian Meteorological department confirmed that activities over the coast are favourable for onset of monsoon within the forecast period.

“We had predicted that the monsoon would arrive on May 29, so we are expecting that it will reach Kerala within next 24 hours. We have a good rainfall activity along the coast and certain criteria that need to be satisfied for onset of monsoon, they are very close to being satisfied. So within the next 24 hours, an announcement could be made," said Dr D S Pai, Head, Climate Prediction Group, IMD.

The southwest Monsoon had advanced into South Andaman Sea, some parts of South Bay of Bengal and Nicobar Islands on May 25, with enhanced cloudiness and rainfall.

According to the forecast by the weather-office, a low pressure area is developing over east central bay of Bengal which is gradually moving northwards. There is also an off-shore vortex over Kerala which is also moving northwards. “These developments are likely to further enhance the cross equatorial flow, favouring the advance of southwest monsoon over the mainland," stated the IMD.

With monsoon advancing, fairly widespread rainfall is expected over Lakshdweep, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, south-interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in next 24 to 48 hours.

In its second long-range forecast on May 18, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) had stated that that the monsoon would hit the coast on May 29, three days ahead of its normal date. The officials had also highlighted that there could be model error of +/- 4 days.

Following an official announcement, the IMD would then proceed to forecast the geographical distribution of rainfall, which would precisely determine the likely impact of monsoon across regions.

Since 2014, except for last year when monsoon arrived on May 29, the onset of monsoon over Kerala has been delayed.

The south-west monsoon provides over 70 % rainfall to the country and irrigated over half of the total crop land.

According to IMD, India is expected to witness a normal monsoon for the third consecutive time which is 97% of the 50 years average, with a 54 % chance that it would be normal to above normal.