The rain forecast for the parched north remains gloomy, giving rise to fears that the drought-like conditions last witnessed in 2002 could well return. In the latest weather data of the most important months of rainfall season, June to July, the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Chandigarh are rainfall-deficient regions, while Punjab and Haryana are in the scanty rainfall zone. Worse, the weatherman now predicts a decrease in monsoon activity.
The gloom has led the meteorological department to compare it to 2002, which was the driest ever monsoon and saw temperature sore as high as 42 degrees Celsius in Haryana on July31. In 2002, only 71mm rainfall was recorded in June and July in Punjab and Haryana. A decade later, the two crucial months may not have been the driest ever but have seen only 136.9 mm rainfall in the two agrarian states.
In Punjab, the normal rainfall is 230.4mm but so far there has been only 75.7mm rainfall, which means the deficiency is 67%. Haryana would normally have seen is 211.7mm rainfall, but has got only 61.2mm and thus there is a deficiency of 71%.
J&K should have normally seen 256.5mm rain, but is deficient by 36%, while Himachal Pradesh has seen only 229.7mm rain in June and July against a normal of 402.3mm. In Uttarakhand, the normal rainfall would have been 595.9mm but till date there has been 438mm rain. As for Chandigarh, the normal is 402.4mm while till date there has been 277.7mm rain.
"By and large, the rainfall activity has reduced," said Surinder Paul, director of the meteorological centre in Chandigarh that monitors the weather of the entire region. "And the rain will only become scantier. Therefore, drought-like situation in some northern states will prevail until it rains continuously for some days, which we do not foresee."
Although parts of the region have seen cloud cover, there is hardly any rainfall apart from occasional thundershowers in the plains and light rainfall in Himachal region.
Paul added, "Farmers should brace themselves for a tougher situation. Even if its rains now, it might not salvage the situation."