The monsoon is likely to arrive in Kerala on June 4 but is poised to make “sluggish” progress thereafter, according to an assessment by private weather forecasting agency, Skymet.
It is expected to reach Andaman & Nicobar islands by May 22 and, when it reaches Kerala, it will also make a simultaneous onset over parts of Northeast India as well, the agency said in a statement. “All the four regions are going to witness less than normal rainfall, this season. East and Northeast India and Central parts will be poorer than Northwest India and South Peninsula. Onset of Monsoon will be around June 4. It seems that initial advancement of monsoon over peninsular India is going to be slow,” Jatin Singh, Managing Director, Skymet, said in a statement.
Central India, the country’s rice bowl, is expected to see the lowest rainfall in the region with seasonal rains at 91% of its Long Period Average. “Odisha and Chhattisgarh are likely to be rainiest of all, while Vidarbha, Marathwada, West Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat will be poorer than normal,” the forecast added. Last month Skymet forecast ‘below normal’ rains to the tune of 93% (with an error margin of +/- 5%) of the long period average (LPA), of 89 cm.
The India Meteorological Department is expected to make public its own assessment of the monsoon onset over Kerala on Wednesday.
The agency’s forecasters say that the monsoon over Kerala would likely be “delayed” beyond the normal date of June 1. “There’s likely to be a delay… the El Nino is one of the factors. Moreover temperatures in the Bay of Bengal are still quite high (a factor that delays the monsoon onset over Kerala,” said a meteorologist, familiar with the IMD forecast, who didn’t want to be identified.
The meteorologist underlined that the monsoon’s onset bore no relation to its performance. Since 1971, only thrice has the monsoon arrived in Kerala exactly on June 1 and this arrival could be as early as May 18, 2004 and as late as June 18 in 1972, according to Skymet.
Last month, IMD said that monsoon rains in India are likely to be “normal” this year. However, this assessment also attributed a significant probability for rains falling in the ‘below normal’ category.
Monsoon rainfall this year, according to the agency, is forecast to be 96% of the LPA.