The India Meteorological Department’s (IMD) has predicted a “near normal” monsoon raising hope for bumper crops.
The Met department said rainfall is likely to be 96 per cent of the long period average (which is 89 cm, with a model error of plus minus five per cent), which would make it the worst season in five years.
A 96 per cent outcome would be the weakest since a relatively dry spell in 2004, which was followed by years in which the monsoon exceeded 98 per cent of the average.
“IMD’s long range forecast for the 2009 south-west monsoon season (June to September) is that the rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be near normal,” the agency said.
It cautioned there were still “equal probabilities” for the development of the La Nina or El Nino systems — temperature fluctuations in surface waters of the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean— before May, which could swing the forecast toward wetter or drier weather respectively.
IMD will update its forecast in June. Last year, the forecast issued by IMD was accurate as rainfall was 98 per cent of the long-term average, just below the weather office’s forecast of 99 per cent.