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Monsoon in June left nearly half the country mildly dry, shows IMD data

As rains picked up in July in several parts of the country, the IMD data flags some pockets may remain affected by drought-like conditions through the monsoon months. About 60% of India’s agricultural land is rain dependent.

india Updated: Jul 11, 2019 13:26 IST
Jayashree Nandi
Jayashree Nandi
New Delhi
Pune,IMD,June
Latur, India - April 5, 2019: A man walks from the dry riverbed of Tawarja dam in Latur, India, on Friday, April 5, 2019. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times)(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Nearly half the country was mildly dry and 17.35% of the country was moderately dry till June end, according to latest data from India Meteorological Department’s Pune office.

As rains picked up in July in several parts of the country, the IMD data flags some pockets may remain affected by drought-like conditions through the monsoon months. About 60% of India’s agricultural land is rain dependent.

IMD’s standard precipitation index (SPI) index statistics for June shows that after monsoon onset, 19 districts or 1.54% of the area is in “extremely dry” category; 6.31% or 48 districts are in “severely dry” category compared to 1 district in “extremely wet” and 2 districts in “severely wet” categories.

IMD’s standard precipitation index (SPI) index statistics for June shows that after monsoon onset, 19 districts or 1.54% of the area is in “extremely dry” category

SPI is an index used for drought monitoring and is negative for drought, and positive for wet conditions.

The dry states include Mizoram, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Kerala, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi and Chandigarh, among others.

The scenario may change marginally if July rains are not deficient. In the first week of July, rains have been above normal in many parts of the country, with monsoons being 18% above normal between July 1 and July 9. But the south peninsula has a -29.8% deficit, and east and north-east India have a deficiency of -5.8%. Central India has received 56.5% more than normal in the past nine days, but the cumulative deficit for the season June 1 to July 9 however remains 16.8%.

“We have forecast 91% of long period average (LPA) for July. Some dry regions are already seeing revival like parts of Bihar and Jharkhand where it’s been raining heavily the past few days. But we don’t see much chance of revival for south peninsular region, including interior Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Revival for parts of northwest India like Punjab, Delhi and NCR, Haryana and north Rajasthan is unlikely in July,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice president, climate change and meteorology at Skymet Weather.

This year, pre-monsoon rains ended with a deficiency of 24%, delayed monsoon onset, scanty rains in June added to the woes. “The rains in July have reduced the deficit by more than half in little over a week. There is nothing to be concerned about this monsoon,” said K J Ramesh, director general, IMD.

IMD Pune’s recent El Nino update indicates that weak El Nino conditions will prevail for June, July and August. El Nino years in India are linked to below normal monsoon rains and higher than normal frequency of heat waves.

IMD in its Tuesday bulletin said a “well marked low pressure area” over East Uttar Pradesh and adjoining Bihar will bring widespread rainfall with heavy to very heavy over parts of Uttar Pradesh from July 10 to 14. There will also be widespread and heavy rainfall over northeastern states on July 11 and 12. Very heavy rainfall and flooding has been warned for Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 13:26 IST