Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Monsoon onset in Kerala likely today: IMD forecast

- Jayashree Nandi letters@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: Conditions are favourable for the onset of monsoon in Kerala on Thursday, two days behind schedule, as southweste­rly winds have strengthen­ed, resulting in an increase in rainfall in the state, the India Meteorolog­ical Department (IMD) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The arrival of monsoon, crucial to the country’s farm-dependent economy, is announced based on factors such as wind speed, consistenc­y of rainfall, intensity, and cloud cover.

“The spatial rainfall distributi­on has increased over Kerala. Westerly winds have strengthen­ed in the lower levels over the south Arabian Sea and deepened,” the IMD statement said. It cited satellite imagery and added that there is an increase in cloud cover over the Kerala coast and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea. “The... conditions [are] likely to favour further enhancemen­t in rainfall activity over Kerala during the next 24-hours. Hence, the monsoon onset over Kerala is likely in the next 24 hours.”

In its second long-range forecast on Tuesday, IMD said monsoon rainfall was likely to be normal at 101% of the long-period average (LPA) after two years of above-average rainfall. LPA is the average rainfall (88cm) recorded in India every year between June and September from 1961 to 2010.

In 2020 and 2019, the monsoon was above normal at 110% and 109% of LPA. In 1996, 1997, and 1998, the monsoon was normal at 103.4%, 102.2%, and 104%, respective­ly, according to IMD.

“Conditions are favourable for monsoon onset over Kerala. We said this morning that it’s likely to arrive in the next 24 hours. We will issue updates on its onset,” said M Mohapatra, director general, IMD.

IMD cited the strengthen­ing of lower level south-westerly winds and said that widespread rainfall was likely in the north-eastern states this week, including heavy rainfall in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura on Wednesday.

It also predicted fairly widespread rain accompanie­d by thundersto­rms, lightning, and gusty winds in the western Himalayan region and the adjoining plains of north-west India on Wednesday and Thursday; apart from scattered to widespread rain accompanie­d by thundersto­rm, lightning, and gusty winds in parts of south Peninsular India during the week.

Meanwhile, India recorded 18% excess rain during the pre-monsoon period from March 1 to May 31. Of 36 subdivisio­ns, 17 recorded over 60% excess rainfall; 9 subdivisio­ns recorded 20 to 59% excess rain; 6 subdivisio­ns received (-19 to 19%) rain and only 4 subdivisio­ns received -59 to -20% rainfall.

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