For the fifth consecutive year, Karnataka is set for a near normal south-west monsoon, which is crucial for farmers and hydel power generation in the energy-starved southern state.
"As per our forecast, Karnataka will have near normal monsoon averaging 96 per cent over the next four months (June-September). The conditions are more favourable for the onset of monsoon by June 1 than the normal date of June 5," state meteorologist B Puttana told IANS in Bangalore on Saturday.
The pre-monsoon showers in coastal and south interior Karnataka during the last three weeks indicate that cloud formations and westerly winds have been building up for onset of the south-west monsoon that is expected to hit the Kerala coast by Sunday, ahead of the normal date of June 1.
"The monsoon is advancing. It has already covered Andaman and Nicobar islands," said Puttana.
Located in the heart of southern peninsula, the coastal and Malnad regions of Karnataka receive copious rains during the south-west monsoon, while the northern parts of the state in the Deccan plateau, which is the second most arid region in the country, get adequate rains when the monsoon is normal.
The presence of the mighty Western Ghats along the vast coastline also helps wind movement in the westerly direction. Post-summer, winds blow from high pressure areas to low pressure areas as they cross the equator and turn right due to the earth's rotation, creating conducive conditions for cloud formations and widespread rainfall in the state.
"Consistency in widespread rainfall also depends on weather systems such as low pressure, depressions and cyclones forming during the monsoon period," Puttana noted.
With main reservoirs located in the catchment areas, widespread rainfall during the monsoon period is crucial as hydel power accounts for over 60 per cent of the energy generation in the state.
Timely and normal monsoon also helps farmers in taking up sowing operations and sustaining agriculture production in the rain-dependent state.
The average rainfall across Karnataka is expected to be about 80-100 cm (32-40 inches) during this monsoon season. As in the case of normal monsoon, coastal areas will record about 300 cm (120 inches), south interior areas 74 cm (30 inches) and north interior areas 49 cm (20 inches).
After prolonged drought for three consecutive years from 2001 to 2004, Karnataka has been blessed with normal south-west monsoon rains since 2005, enabling the state to maintain its food grain production between 10-12 million tonnes per annum though it has the second largest drought-prone areas (northern districts) in the country after Rajasthan.
"Bangalore will also have a good amount of rainfall this year. Being 1000 metres above sea level, it has the advantage of getting rain-inducing clouds from south-west and north-east monsoons from June to December. The average rainfall is expected to be between 80-90 cm," Puttana added.