New Delhi: Despite the prediction of below-normal rainfall for July by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), private forecaster Skymet Weather Services Pvt. Ltd on Tuesday reaffirmed its forecast that rainfall in the month will be normal.

“Our initial April forecast was 104% of normal for the month. And we are sticking to that," said Jatin Singh, chief executive officer, Skymet.

Rainfall in June was 16% more than normal, with north-west India receiving 31% more than normal rainfall, central India receiving 23% more than the normal, the south peninsula receiving 19% more and east and north-east India receiving 1% more than normal rainfall.

The government forecaster last week said the monsoon will be weak in the first half of July, and Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology forecast that there will be large-scale reduction in rainfall in the period.

Skymet said rainfall in July will be normal although it is going to start on a weak note.

“The winners will be north, east, west and central India. South Peninsular India could be at a loss. More specifically there is a risk of prolonged dry weather in north interior Karnataka and south interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Marathwada," said Singh.

In its second-stage monsoon forecast in June, IMD predicted that the monthly rainfall over the country as a whole is likely to be 92% of its average during July and 90% of the average during August, both with a model error of ±9 %. This amount of rainfall will qualify as below normal.

A worrisome factor for the monsoon this year is the strong El Niño weather phenomenon, which is likely to continue through the season. The phenomenon is usually associated with drier than normal conditions in India.

Skymet, in a note on Tuesday, said, “This is a peculiar El Niño event. It set in around September-October-November 2014, then weakened in February and subsequently increased again. The years 1986-87 that were back-to-back drought and El Niño years had seen a consistent rise in the Niño index, which is not the case this year."

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