The south-west monsoon failed to keep its date on Saturday with Kerala, its first stopover, with the weatherman saying the sluggish delay will be there for only a couple of days.
A weather office spokesperson said the prediction has an error of plus or minus four days, adding, “It is a normal. Nothing to worry, it will set in by June 1.”
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.
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.
The south-west monsoon, which accounts for four-fifths of the nation’s rainfall, is crucial for the country’s millions of farmers.
“We have pinned much hope on it. Good rain means better returns,” said K Prabhakaran, a paddy farmer in Kerala’s rice bowl Kuttanad.
But the delay in monsoon hasn’t disappointed him either. “That’s not a big issue. What we need is steady rainfall in coming days,” he said.
Meteorologists had said earlier 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.