Amid fears of a subdued monsoon this year due to a developing El Nino condition over the Pacific Ocean, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday said that rainfall as a whole during the four-month monsoon season would be ‘near-normal’.
Monsoon rains will be near normal, predicts IMD in good news for economy
In the first long-range forecast for this season, the IMD said rainfall was likely to be 96% of the long period average or LPA. The LPA, defined as the average of monsoon rainfall over a 50-year period between 1951 and 2000, for the country is 89 cm.
The prediction is likely to bring cheer to the agricultural and rural economy, parts of which are reeling under the impact of an agrarian crisis, although this has more to do with low prices for agricultural produce than anything else.
“Overall, the country is expected to have well-distributed rainfall scenario during 2019 monsoon season, which will be beneficial to farmers in the country during the ensuing kharif season”, read a statement from the press release.
Secretary, ministry of earth sciences, M Rajeevan said on Monday: “We are expecting near normal monsoon and a good distribution of rain across the country. The Kharif crops will not be affected. Farmers will be happy. It’s good news for farmers on an auspicious day when many states are celebrating their new year.” But Rajeevan said El Nino was not too big a concern as of now. He said “There are prevailing conditions of a weak El Nino, but we don’t believe this will affect the monsoon adversely. In any way, there is no established one-on-one correlation between El Nino and the Indian monsoon. The sea surface temperature conditions over the Pacific and Indian oceans are being monitored continuously.” He further added, “Overall, the country is expected to have well-distributed rainfall which will be beneficial to Indian farmers during the Kharif season.”
Rajeevan even went on to predict the likely time of onset of monsoon over the Indian sub-continent, something that the IMD usually announces only in the middle of May. He said, “We expect the onset of monsoon to take place by mid-May. IMD will issue the second stage monsoon forecast during the first week of June.”
Ramesh, meanwhile, said the IMD had begun forecasting as well as circulating the information on thunderstorms from last year. “We disseminate information 24 hours in advance when a thunderstorm is expected to the district. We have recently started forecasting lightning as well and will soon be disseminating this forecast to the districts.”