The monsoon rainfall this year is likely to be lower than earlier forecast, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Tuesday, lowering their estimates further by one per cent.
The IMD lowered its forecast of the southwest monsoon to 92 per cent of long period average (LPA) from the earlier expectation of 93 per cent. It also expressed confidence of bountiful rainfall in July.
"We have lowered the expectations of southwest monsoon rainfall to 92 per cent of LPA. It is eight per cent below normal with four per cent plus or minus variation, as against the earlier projection of 93 per cent of LPA in April," a senior IMD official said.
"The monsoon rainfall during July is however expected to be 97 per cent of LPA," the official said.
The IMD annually gives two projections - an advanced forecast in April followed by another in the first week of July. The projections are important, as July is a crucial month for agriculture sowing, particularly for crops like rice with two-thirds of the farmland dependent on rain-fed irrigation.
July is also the wettest period of the four-month southwest monsoon that accounts for 80 per cent of the rainfall in the country.
So far between June 1, the normal date for onset of the summer monsoon, and June 28, there has been 21 per cent shortfall in the southwest monsoon rainfall. Only seven out of 36 meteorological sub-divisions received excessive rains, while 16 received normal rainfall.
During the June 22-28 week, however, the situation has been better with 15 per cent shortfall in rain.
"The monsoon is very good as far as rainfall is concerned. The deep depression has moved to Raipur in Chhattisgarh from Orissa where it brought good rains on Monday and is now moving in northwest direction, where it should set in few days," said B Lal, IMD director general said.
"The low pressure is moving as per expectations and should see the monsoon setting in well over large parts of central and northwest India."
The monsoon is expected to set in Gujarat and south Rajasthan over the next two days and in parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Delhi and neighbouring areas will have to wait a few more days, possibly till Friday for the monsoon to set in, the official said.
But the weathermen are not worried.
"Over the last 100 years, the standard deviation of seven days from normal date of monsoon arrival (June 29) is quite normal. There is nothing to be concerned about as Delhi received 12.4 cm of rainfall in June as against the normal of 5.5 cm," said RD Singh, director of Delhi meteorological department.
"In July, Delhi should get 22.5 cm rainfall, a similar quantity in August and 14 cm in September. Of the total 64.5 cm of rainfall Delhi receives during the summer monsoon, we have already got 12.5 cm, and as such there is nothing to be worried about."
The humid condition in Delhi and neighbouring regions is in favour of a good rainfall, the weather experts said.
What is missing is the monsoon weather system to churn the water vapour into moisture-filled clouds that bring rains, they said.
Giving a short-term monsoon forecast, the IMD officials said that this year again the northwest region including Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan and Gujarat are expected to together receive only around 91 per cent of the LPA. Central India is likely to face a more severe shortfall of 10 per cent, plus or minus eight per cent variation, they said.
The southern peninsula is expected to see the best monsoon rainfall at 97 per cent of LPA, followed by 94 per cent LPA in northeast region.