Annual monsoon, the lifeline of Asia’s third-largest economy, is unlikely to hit the southern state of Kerala on May 30 as forecast, but forecasters said they didn’t expect the sluggish rains to be delayed by more than a couple of days.
The rain-bearing system, currently traversing southern Sri Lanka, remains threatened by a strong El Nino weather pattern taking hold across the Pacific, raising concerns for the government and farmers alike.
El Nino is a weather glitch marked by higher sea surface temperatures. Its effects can ripple across the world, from drier conditions in India to storms in Peru. In developing countries, weather disruptions caused by El Nino can roil agricultural markets.
June 1 is considered the normal arrival date for the rains but the India Meteorological Department forecast landfall on May 30, with a four-day margin of error.
“It may not happen on May 30 but we don’t expect a delay beyond four days, which is quite normal,” said DS Pai, the weather department’s lead monsoon forecaster.
Indian meteorologists said conditions in and around the southernmost state were “favourable” for the rainy system to keep advancing but it was unlikely to be a robust system.
“Initially in June, the monsoon will be confined to extreme southern parts only. Its further progress is expected to be delayed by a week. On the other hand, the second half of June looks more promising,” said Jatin Singh, CEO the weather forecasting firm of Skymet.
This means many parts of India may see a delayed monsoon arrival and a long wait for respite for a deadly hot spell.