The monsoon is likely to begin its onset over Kerala around June 3, two days after its normal date of arrival, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its revised forecast on Sunday. The IMD previously said that the start of the monsoon would be on May 31, a day ahead of schedule.
Monsoon rainfall is lifeblood of Asia’s third-largest economy as nearly 60% of the country’s cropped area doesn’t have irrigation coverage. IMD said last month the country was expected to get average monsoon rainfall this year, raising expectations of higher farm output.
“The southwesterly winds could strengthen further gradually from June 1, resulting in likely enhancement in rainfall activity over Kerala. Hence the monsoon onset over Kerala is likely to take place around June 3,” IMD said. The department’s director general M Mohapatra said that cyclonic circulation along the Karnataka coast was hindering the progress of the southwest monsoon.
In its monsoon forecast on May 14, IMD predicted that the monsoon was likely to arrive over Kerala on May 31 with a possible error margin of plus/minus four days. After very severe storm Yaas weakened recently, scientists said the cyclone over the Bay of Bengal helped strengthen the monsoon winds. But rainfall stopped and no heavy rain has been recorded over Kerala since then.
“It should rain for consecutive two days in a certain number of stations. That has not happened. The westerlies should have a certain depth and it should be very cloudy. All these factors have to be met for us to announce the onset. These conditions may start from June 1 and meet criteria by June 3,” said Mohapatra.
The southwest monsoon normally sets in over Kerala around June 1. It advances northwards, usually in surges, and covers the entire country by around July 5.
Due to the strengthening of lower-level southwesterly winds, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall activity with isolated heavy rain is very likely over the northeastern states during the next five days, IMD said in its Sunday bulletin.
These winds are likely to bring isolated heavy rainfall over Kerala and Mahe during the next five days and over coastal Karnataka on June 1 and June 3, while the south interior Karnataka is likely to experience heavy rainfall on June 2 and June 3.
The onset of monsoon marks the start of the four-month rainfall season in the country.
On Sunday morning, IMD, in its daily bulletin, said the onset of the monsoon over Kerala was expected to be around May 31. By afternoon, however, it said the onset was expected by June 3.
However, Skymet Weather, a private forecasting agency, said the monsoon has already made an onset over Kerala. GP Sharma, president (meteorology) of Skymet Weather, said it is a “very weak onset” this year. Skymet earlier predicted that the monsoon will make an onset over Kerala on May 30.
(With inputs from agencies)