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Photo: Sunil Ghosh/HT
Photo: Sunil Ghosh/HT

Monsoon hits Kerala, two days before onset of 1 June: Skymet

  • State-owned India Meteorological Department has yet not released any official statement on the early arrival of monsoons, crucial for India's agriculture-dependant economy

NEW DELHI: The southwest monsoon has arrived over the Kerala coast, two days ahead of the onset date of 1 June, marking the start of the four-month season, said private weather forecaster, Skymet.

However, state-owned India Meteorological Department (IMD) has yet not released any official statement on the early arrival of monsoons, crucial for India's agriculture-dependant economy.

"Southwest #Monsoon2020 finally arrived on the mainland of India, #Monsoon arrived on Kerala before the actual onset date. All the onset conditions including rainfall, OLR value, wind speed, etc are met. Finally, the 4-month long festival begins for Indian. #HappyMonsoon," Skymet said in a Twitter post on Saturday.

Earlier this week, the IMD had said monsoon rains are likely to enter India around June 1. This was a revision of its earlier onset forecast of 5 June, which is four days later than usual.

In 2019, the monsoon started late over Kerala on 8 June. Its progress over rest of the country too remained sluggish, leading to below-normal rain in June. This year, however, prospects look better in the first half of the season.

IMD has forecast a normal monsoon this year, the lifeline for millions of farmers, offering some relief to the country’s economy that has been battered by a nationwide coronavirus lockdown.

The rainfall during the June-September monsoon season is likely to be in line with the long-term average (LPA) of 88cm, said M. Rajeevan Nair, secretary, ministry of earth sciences, in April.

There is 41% probability that the monsoons would be normal, according to IMD. Seasonal rainfall, which is 96-104% of the LPA, (1961-2000) of 88cm, is considered to be normal.

There is a 21% probability that it may be above normal in the range of 104-110% of LPA, 20% that it may end up as below normal, when rain is 90-96%, and 9% chance of a deficient season.

The June-September monsoon season is crucial for the agrarian economy as it provides more than 75% of the annual rainfall every year. The onset and duration of this main rainy season along with the quantity of rainfall are important factors in the agricultural planning, food security, and the lives of around 250 million people dependent on farming and allied sectors.

This year, the global ocean phenomenon Enso, which influences the monsoon is also in neutral phase and is likely to remain so over the next few months, and slightly tilt towards La Niña at the end of the year, according to latest global forecasts. This is a good sign, considering La Niña phase augurs well for India's monsoon and is associated with above-normal rain.

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