Home / News / India /  Southwest monsoon sets over Kerala, rains seen normal this year, says IMD

NEW DELHI: The southwest monsoon arrived well on time over the Kerala coast, bringing widespread rains to the state, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday.

The four-month monsoon season brings over 75% of the annual rainfall to the country, with 1 June as the normal date of onset over the Indian coast.

For this year, IMD had forecast that the arrival could be delayed to 5 June, with a an error margin of +/-4 days.

Reiterating its April forecast for the monsoon season, IMD said rains will likely be normal (96-104% of Long period average of 88 cm) this year, raising hopes for farmers and the economy battered by a nationwide lockdown. However, it revised the forecast for rains from 100% of long-period average of 88 cm to 102% of LPA.

"It will be a good monsoon. There is 41% probability that it will be normal and 14% that it could be excess. There is very low chance (5%) of it being deficient," said M Rajeevan, secretary, ministry of earth sciences.

According to IMD’s second long-range forecast, rains in July are seen at 103% of LPA. This is crucial for the sowing of rain-fed kharif crops. Rains in August have been forecast at 97% of LPA.

Spatial distribution of rainfall is also likely to be fairly normal across the country, except north-east India showers could be below normal.

“However, northwest India could see excess rains to the tune of 107% of LPA, while it would be 103% (normal) for central India and 102% of LPA (normal) for southern peninsula," said Rajeevan. The forecast carries a model error of +/-8%

According to weather scientists, the ocean conditions are turning favourable for a good monsoon this year. The sea-surface temperatures have been below normal, indicating La Nina (an ocean phenomenon) conditions which augur well for monsoon rains. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is also neutral and is likely to remain so.

Last year, the monsoon had made a delayed onset on 8 June and its progress across the country had been sluggish but the season had ended with 10% excess rains and floods in Bihar and Kerala.

IMD declares the onset of the monsoon when 60% of the 14 meteorological stations in Kerala record 2.5mm of more rains for two consecutive days. The other two factors are the westerlies (winds) and the outgoing longwave radiation.

In a country, where the livelihood of more than half the population depends on agriculture, the forecast for monsoon is crucial as more than two-thirds of India's arable land do not have access to irrigation systems and depend on rains

The monsoon has been arriving early since 2017, except for 2019 when it arrived late on June 8.

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