The monsoon arrived four days ahead of schedule in Delhi on Thursday, raising hopes the annual rains may not be as scanty as predicted. However, it also brought sudden misery to neighbouring states including Gujarat where 60 people have died in flooding this week.
A better-than-forecast monsoon has covered nearly the entire country, barring Rajasthan, delivering 24% excess rainfall so far, but meteorologists say they expect a drier July.
A good start to the rains, which arrived five days late in Kerala on June 5, has eased worries of a drought, after the weather office’s prediction of a deficient monsoon in 2015. The above-average rains flooded parts of Gujarat and Assam while a swollen Jhelum breached its banks in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sixty people are reported to have died in Gujarat due to floods caused by incessant rains following a deep pressure that built up in the Arabian Sea. Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel conducted an aerial survey of the worst-hit areas in Saurashtra on Thursday.
State authorities with the help of the National Disaster Relief Force and the Air Force rescued several hundred people stranded in the rural areas of Amreli, Rajkot and Somnath districts.
“We’ve seen extensive damage due to flooding. The government has launched emergency services and rescue operations,” a Gujarat government official said.
Mumbai came to a standstill last week when torrential showers closed trains and led to a breakdown in public services. The financial capital received nearly 907 mm of rain between June 11 and 24, 155% above normal for the entire month of June.
A flood alert was issued in J-K’s Anantnag and Pulwama districts on Thursday as the Jhelum river crossed the danger mark.
The rains are vital as 70% of Indians depend on farm income and 60% of farms do not have access to the country’s inadequate irrigation network. Rajkot surpassed its all-time high 24-hour rainfall record for June on Thursday, while Ahmedabad received 130 mm in the last 24 hours, the highest in a decade, a meteorologist with private forecaster Skymet said.