Monsoon has come four to five days early to the whole of northeast India, most parts of sub-Himalayan West Bengal, and Sikkim, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials on Sunday.
New monsoon dates were issued by IMD last year based on onset data from 1961 to 2019, and withdrawal data from 1971 to 2019. Going by these, monsoon was expected to cover Sikkim and sub-Himalayan West Bengal around June 10.
“But it has advanced to Sikkim and parts of Maharashtra four to five days in advance. The monsoon flow is strong and southwesterly winds have picked up on a large scale,” said R K Jenamani, senior scientist, national weather forecasting centre.
Monsoon is likely to pick up further as a monsoon ‘low’ or a low-pressure area is likely to form over north Bay of Bengal on June 11.
“Under the influence of that monsoon low, we are expecting monsoon to be vigorous and cover most of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal — all of east India by June 13. We are now getting very early indications that monsoon will reach western parts of the country earlier than expected too,” added Jenamani.
But it’s too early to say if monsoon will arrive in Delhi early, officials said. “For now, we can say that pre-monsoon rain and thunderstorms are likely to begin over Delhi and parts of Uttar Pradesh around June 12 and 13 because of the low-pressure area that will develop over the Bay of Bengal. It’s difficult to say immediately if monsoon will arrive earlier than expected. Normal date is around June 29,” said Kuldeep Shrivastava, head, regional weather forecasting centre.
This year, between June 1 and 6, the country has got 44% excess rain, with Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Punjab, etc, recording ‘large excess’ rain — 60% above normal.
On Saturday and Sunday, Puddukkottai in Tamil Nadu recorded 19 cm rainfall, Tripura and Gangtok recorded 11 cm each, and Shirali in Karnataka and Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh received 10 cm each.
The weatherman also predicts fairly widespread rain in the northeastern states and adjoining parts of eastern India in the next four to five days. Isolated heavy rain is very likely over Arunachal Pradesh on June 6 and 8; over Assam, Meghalaya, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim on June 8 and 9; over Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura on June 7; over Odisha on June 8 and 9; and over Gangetic West Bengal on June 10.
Under the influence of the offshore trough (area of low pressure) at mean sea level from the north Maharashtra coast to the north Kerala coast, and a cyclonic circulation over Konkan and Goa, scattered to widespread rain accompanied by thunderstorm, lightning and gusty winds was likely over parts of south Peninsular India and the west coast on Sunday and Monday.
In its long-range forecast, IMD said monsoon rain, a key variable in the health of the rural economy, is likely to be normal at 101% of the long-period average (LPA) after two years of above-average rain. LPA is the average rainfall (88 cm) recorded from 1961 to 2010.
India receives about 70% of its annual rainfall during the four-month monsoon that is crucial for rice, soybeans, and cotton cultivation. Good rains have been a prime reason for the farm sector’s resilience for two years despite the raging pandemic. India has over 150 million farmers and nearly half of Indians are dependent on a farm-based income. Agriculture is one of the mainstays of its economy. Monsoon spurs farm produce and improves rural spending. Monsoon impacts inflation, jobs, and industrial demand. It also replenishes 89 nationally important reservoirs critical for drinking water and power generation.