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Despite wettest June in a decade, Delhi has 35% monsoon rain deficit

The only state with a higher rain deficiency than Delhi is Manipur. Weekend in Delhi is going to be rainy but deficit can be slimmed only with heavy showers before monsoon starts retreating after September 21

delhi Updated: Sep 08, 2017 11:25 IST
Delhi usually receives around 567mm of rain between June 1 and September 6. But this year, it received around 369mm rain during this period.(Ravi Choudhary/HT Photo)

You may feel it rained a lot in Delhi this monsoon but numbers show there were more dry spells than showers.

Delhi is one of the eight states in India reeling under monsoon deficiency this year. The Capital depends on the annual monsoon for rain, running from late June to September. Though Delhi received heavy pre-monsoon showers with this June becoming the wettest since 2007, rain has been erratic since monsoon hit on July 2.

As a result, Delhi is facing a 35% rain deficiency. Weather experts hope monsoon can still bring down the rain deficit before it starts retreating in two weeks, if emboldened by favourable atmospheric conditions. The brief rainy season usually retreats any day after September 21, leaving the city of more than 20 million at the mercy of a long dry spell.

“The city needs to get some heavy and widespread rain to fill the gap. The only state with a higher rain deficiency is Manipur, around 44%,” said an official of the India Meteorological Department, the nation’s official weather-watcher.

Just not wet enough
Monsoon shortfall (below normal) this year

What he meant was light rain such as the one that fell for around 20 minutes on Wednesday night won’t do. The Safdarjung observatory recorded around 6.6mm of rain till 8.30am on Thursday. Ayanagar and Ridge areas registered higher rainfall.

What the city needs is a good dunking. But for heavy, widespread and incessant rain, the weakened monsoon in its last leg can’t do without a push from atmospheric conditions such as a cyclonic circulation, a trough or a low-pressure area, according to weather experts.

Or else, the monsoon fizzles out with light rain in isolated places.

“We are expecting some more rainy days this week. There can be some light to moderate rain. While easterly winds are bringing in loads of moisture, a western disturbance from across the border triggered some rain in northwest India, including the Capital,” an official of the regional weather forecasting centre said.

New Delhi receives around 636mm of rain in the four rainy months and the monsoon dumps its maximum load — around 468mm — between July and August. “Usually the city receives around 567mm of rain between June 1 and September 6. But this year, till date, it has received around 369mm. Most of the rain was registered in June,” an official said.

With around 191mm, this June was the wettest for more than a decade. But the subsequent months experienced only teasers, when precipitation should have been higher than June, leading to a huge deficiency.

The fickle nature of the monsoon brought more than normal rain to Mumbai, Mizoram — the only state to register “large excess” rainfall — and Bihar as well as regions in Karnataka. Unprecedented rain flooded districts in northern Gujarat and Rajasthan for the first time in decades.

But southern Maharashtra, western Madhya Pradesh, eastern Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh got deficient downpour, much like New Delhi.

Still the monsoon has been generous as it has soaked 28 of the country’s 36 states and Union territories, typically covering almost the whole of India and giving hope to the predominantly farm-based economy that has been reeling from back-to-back droughts.

A patchy monsoon could crimp food output and raise prices.

First Published: Sep 07, 2017 23:48 IST