After its slow but steady trudge over parts of eastern India, the southwest monsoon has entered a period of lull as it lies dormant over parts of east Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, further delaying its progress toward north-western India.

According to the latest update from India Meteorological Department (IMD), the northern limit of the monsoon, which indicates its progress, continues to pass through Veraval and Surat (Gujarat), Indore (Madhya Pradesh), Sultanpur and Lakhimpur Kheri (Uttar Pradesh) and Mukteshwar (Uttarakhand).

“There has not been much advancement over the last few days. Mostly thunderstorm activity has been observed over northern parts and no significant rains. As of now, not much progress can be expected from the eastern end of monsoon. It is most likely to progress from the western side (Gujarat) towards Madhya Pradesh and other parts," said D.S. Pai, senior scientist, IMD Pune.

The weather office is now pinning hopes on a low pressure area which is likely to form over North Bay of Bengal around 30 June to infuse some energy into the sluggish monsoon. The system could help some moisture-laden easterly winds to move toward west Uttar Pradesh and help the monsoon advance into remaining parts of central India and some more parts of western and northwestern India during 1-3 July.

However, it remains to be seen how strong the system would be.

According to current forecasts, the National Capital Region (NCR) may not receive monsoon rains until 3 July.

“There could be some light rainfall activity around 2-3 July in western UP and parts of Delhi, which could help the monsoon current to advance. Till then the weather would remain generally cloudy. Some light winds could help ease the heat stress, but the days would be dry," said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head, Regional Weather Forecasting Centre, New Delhi.

On the western end, the monsoon has covered all of Maharashtra and has entered southern Gujarat. Despite its onset, drought-prone Maharashtra faces a deficit of 54%. The situation remains critical in the state’s Vidarbha region which faces an acute rainfall deficit of nearly 69%.

The country has so far received 92.4 mm rainfall against a normal of 144.3 mm—an overall deficit of 35%.

As many as 29 subdivisions out of a total 36 face a deficit of over 20% while three sub-divisions—Vidarbha, east Madhya Pradesh and west Uttar Pradesh—remain largely deficient with a rain scarcity of over 60%.

Only five subdivisions—Jammu and Kashmir, Rayalseema, north Karnataka, Sikkim and Lakshadweep Islands —have received normal rains so far.

Among states, the situation is the most dismal in Jharkhand which faces a deficit of 57%, followed by Tamil Nadu at 55% and Uttar Pradesh at 51%. The rains are extremely crucial this season, as large parts of India are facing drought-like conditions. The delay in onset of the monsoon has also impacted the planting of kharif crops across states.

On the eastern end, the situation looks slightly better. The active monsoon conditions continue to bring widespread rains over the north-eastern states of Meghalaya and Assam, sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. The forecast indicates that the rainfall may reduce over these regions Friday onwards.

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