IMD downgrades forecast, but monsoon within normal range
India's crucial monsoon will be normal this year but with less heavier rains as the weather office today marginally downgraded its earlier forecast. "Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall for the country as a whole will be 96% of the long period average," Laxman Singh Rathore, Director General, India Meteorological Department (IMD) told reporters in New Delhi.
In April, the IMD had said the the country would receive 99% rains of the long period average (LPA).
A normal monsoon means rainfall between 96-104% of a 50-year average rains during the four-month season from June to September. The LPA has been pegged at 89cm.
Most parts of the country are expected to receive good rains in July-August, the crucial months for the country's trillion-dollar economy which depends largely on rain-fed agriculture.
Rains in July this year are likely to be 98% of the long period average, while the rainfall in August is forecast to be 96% of the LPA.
The northwest region, including Punjab and Haryana, considered to be India's granary states, are expected to receive below normal rains at 93% of the LPA, according to the IMD's update to its monsoon forecast which was issued on Friday.
Monsoon rains arrived four days late over Kerala on June 5 and are yet to pick up steam due to a string of atmospheric storms in the south-east Asian region which had affected the monsoon current.