Monsoon misses north India in September, hits south and east hard
The usually warmer weather with temperatures ranging from 32 degree Celsius in hills of Himachal and Uttarakhand to 39 degrees in Delhi, five to eight degrees above normal, has impacted horticultureUpdated: Sep 18, 2020, 19:45 IST
The monsoon appears to have missed north and north-west India as hot and humid conditions are expected to continue for the rest of September that is expected to be dry, weather experts said. They blamed the monsoon trough travelling from the Bay of Bengal towards the westerly direction instead of the usual north-westerly for this. The sultry conditions are likely to continue for another 10 to 13 days till the monsoon fully withdraws from the region without any rainfall, ushering pleasant autumn.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the rainfall deficit in northern India in September was up to 99%, highest for any region in the country. Southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana received up to 50% excess rain during the same period. Chitradurga district in Karnataka got 245% excess rainfall.
Kinnaur in Himachal, known for its apples, received 88% less rainfall. Uttar Pradesh’s western parts were almost dry with districts like Bulandshahr and Mathura recording 100% rain deficiency. New Delhi recorded 76% less rainfall and was the driest district in the national capital. Southern Haryana districts such as Gurugram and Faridabad recorded close to 90% less rainfall.
“Only one trough was formed in the Bay of Bengal during this period and that also travelled towards the westerly direction bringing in some rain in West Bengal, Odisha and north-east India. ...north and north-west Delhi remained dry,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate and meteorology, Skymet Weather, a private forecaster.
North and north-west India normally receives good monsoon rainfall due to oscillation of troughs getting their moisture feed from the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. With very less formation of troughs, the region witnessed westerly dry winds. This added to the humid conditions in the region, said an IMD scientist, who did not want to be named as he is not authorised to speak to media.
The usually warmer weather with temperatures ranging from 32 degree Celsius in hills of Himachal and Uttarakhand to 39 degrees in Delhi, five to eight degrees above normal, has impacted horticulture.
“Because of the excessive heat, the colour of apple in my orchards turned almost yellow from red. No rain has resulted in leaf fall, turning the fruit, which looked good a month ago, into bad quality fruit. Nobody buys a small and pale red apple,” said Chander Mohan Justa, an orchardist in Shimla.
Devendra Sharma, an agriculture expert, said the poor rainfall in the food bowl states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh could have some impact on the summer-sown kharif crop output. “Though the sowing was good because of good early monsoon rains, the dry patch in August and September has dampened the farmers’ mood,” he said.
The areas along the western coast from Maharashtra to Kerala received 90 to 100% excess rain whereas most of the north-eastern states received up to 50% of rain than normal, the IMD data showed. Sindudurg in Maharashtra and Chitradurg (Karnataka) received up to 300% of the normal rainfall between September 1 and 17, according to IMD.
A recent Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur study found that by end of this century, southern India is likely to register the maximum increase in rainfall compared to the states in central and north India. “In the worst-case scenario, rainfall could increase by 2.7 mm per day in north India and by 18.5 mm per day in the Western Ghats in southern India,” said Rajib Maity, a professor at IIT Kharagpur, who led the study.
In its weekly forecast, IMD has not projected any major rainfall activity in the remaining monsoon season. The monsoon is expected to fully withdraw from western India in the third week of September and from the rest of the country by mid-October. The temperatures are expected to be higher than normal for northern and central Indian plains.
The anti-cyclone activity, a sign of monsoon withdrawal from western India, is now visible in central Pakistan. This means monsoon withdrawal from Rajasthan would start in a week.
Despite less rainfall in September, Mritunjay Mohapatra, director-general of IMD on September 8 said the overall monsoon in India is expected to be 102% of the normal.
“We are not expecting any improvement in rain deficiency over northwest India now because we are heading towards monsoon withdrawal,” said DS Pai, senior scientist, IMD Pune, agreeing that monsoon was literally over in northern India.