The weather bureau on Wednesday declared the onset of the monsoon over Kerala -- the rain-bearing system’s first port of call on the Indian mainland -- which marks the beginning of a widely anticipated wet season.
It has been raining in Kerala for the past two days but the Met declares the monsoon’s arrival only when the rains fulfill a raft of meteorological parameters. “All these criteria have been met,” a Met department official in Kerala said over the phone.
Last week, the India meteorological department (IMD) updated the forecast, in which it said the monsoon would mostly likely be higher than normal and evenly spread, necessary for good food output.
The onset of the monsoon will bring cheer to the government and millions of farmers alike in a country battling a severe drought. The rains are vital because 49% of Indians depend on a farm-based income and nearly 60% of the country’s arable land doesn’t have irrigation facilities.
Over the past 48 hours in Kerala, at least eight designated places received rainfall of 2.5 mm or more, a key criterion for the monsoon to be officially declared as active. Other parameters such as wind conditions, the monsoon’s location and levels of infrared energy bouncing backing from the Earth’s surface are within the range required for the monsoon’s onset, an official said.
In its updated forecast, the Met stuck to its April prediction that the June-September rainy season would be 106% of the long-period average (50 years). According to the Met’s classification, the monsoon is considered normal if it is 96-104% of the 50-year average of 89 cm. If rains are between 104-110%, it is considered above normal.
The IMD said rainfall would be good in the northwest region, the area that usually gets lower rains compared to other parts even when the monsoon is normal because of natural climatic reasons.
Northern states such as foodbowl Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan and Delhi will get above-normal rainfall. In central India and peninsular India, a region that grows important crops such as paddy, pulses and gram, the rains would be way above normal at 113%.
Heavy rainfall towards the end of the season in September could be stronger.