The prolonged dry spell has resulted in a 42.7% rain deficit in Mumbai and 34.2% in the suburbs.
And, the situation is not likely to improve for the rest of the month. Only light showers are expected at the end of August and through September.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said rainfall received so far, from the start of the season has been 65.7% in Mumbai’s suburbs and 57.2% in south Mumbai. “This is a result of the El Nino effect – the weather phenomenon caused when warm water from the western Pacific Ocean flows eastward. Westerly winds carrying moisture from the Arabian Sea – the main rain-bearing factor over the west coast – have been less,” said DS Pai, director, long-range forecast, IMD.
“We do not expect much improvement,” Pai said.
Between June 1 and August 14, the suburbs got 1,531mm of rain and south Mumbai received 1,218.4mm, a fall since last year’s 1,852mm and 1,625.8mm last year.
“In July, we saw a break monsoon situation in the central parts of India coming down to Maharashtra because of a trough at the foothills of the Himalayas. So most of the rain took place in the northern regions,” said KS Hosalikar, deputy director general, western region, IMD. The trend continued for the first 15 days of August as well owing to the lack of major rain-bearing factors, Hosalikar added.
“Mumbai gets rain for three specific reasons –the activity over the Arabian Sea, which has not been taking place, an offshore trough along the coast, which has either been weak or not present, and strong depression over the Bay of Bengal that was seen during June and has been missing ever since,” he said.
Officials at Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency, also said the rains will stay poor.
“It has been a disappointing July and August for the island city,” said GP Sharma, vice-president, Skymet. “Even if weather systems develop along the coast, they remain for less than 24 hours and start moving away in quick successions,” he said.