Delhi: Monsoon late by another 24 hours, says IMD
Another day went by without monsoon rain in Delhi.
Monsoon forecast by the India Meteorological Department was off the mark for the fourth time this season on Sunday as the southwest monsoon did not arrive in the national capital.
On Saturday, IMD’s daily bulletin said monsoon rain will take “another 24 hours” to reach the Capital. The bulletin repeated this on Sunday.
This is the second most delayed monsoon onset in Delhi since IMD began documenting the arrival dates in 1920. The only time that the arrival of the monsoon was later than this was on July 19, 2002. The usual onset date for Delhi is June 29.
“This century’s most delayed monsoon arrival in Delhi was in 2002 when it arrived on July 19. The monsoon has breached the July 9 mark, which has made it the second most delayed in this century,” said Akshay Deoras, an independent meteorologist and PhD student at the University of Reading in England. He added that the 2002 record is unlikely to be broken.
An initial rapid advance of monsoon across India last month raised hopes of a Delhi onset by June 15. That would have been the earliest that monsoon showers hit the city since recordings began, weather scientists said.
Instead, unfavourable weather conditions and an unusual “break” spell slowed the progression, prompting the weather department to shift the forecast to a June 29 arrival, and when that didn’t happen, a July 10 arrival. IMD officials said on Sunday that easterly winds are blowing into the national capital, increasing humidity levels and creating “favourable conditions” for the onset, but it is waiting for the city to record a considerable spell of rainfall for at least 24 hours to declare the arrival.
“While easterly winds did set in over Delhi, clouds did not form until Sunday. Easterly winds bring moist air, but for clouds to form air must rise, which didn’t happen. Now it seems the monsoon is likely to make an onset on Monday over Delhi,” said RK Jenamani, senior scientist at national weather forecasting centre, IMD.
“As per the standard operating procedure, monsoon onset is declared based on rainfall reported during the last 24 hours, ending at 8.30 hours IST (Indian standard time) of the day. Hence, though it is forecasted to rain today (Sunday), we may be able to declare monsoon arrival officially by Monday,” said a senior IMD official, who asked not to be named.
On Sunday, some parts of the city received sporadic rainfall. The forecast said that gusty winds and light rain were expected over Delhi-NCR on Sunday night and Monday morning, which means monsoon arrival may be officially declared on Monday, IMD scientists said.
Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change) at Skymet Weather, said that the monsoon trough is on the south of Delhi, which is causing heavy rain in parts of Rajasthan and neighbouring areas.
“In Delhi, all the conditions are favourable for the onset of the monsoon — we have easterly winds, humidity is high and the temperatures are also decreasing — but we are only waiting for rain. If it rains on Sunday night and through Monday, then we can declare monsoon onset by Monday evening,” said Palawat. He added that Delhi may receive patchy rainfall until Wednesday.
The maximum temperature recorded at the Safdarjung observatory, considered representative for the city, was 39°C on Sunday, three degrees above the season’s normal. The minimum temperature was 28.8°C, a notch above normal. Humidity levels hovered around 70%.
IMD scientists said rainfall has begun in central and peninsular India but the advance of the monsoon has been slow.
The northern limit of monsoon (NLM) — the northernmost point until which the weather system has progressed — is roughly on the same position since June 19.
On Sunday, NLM continued to pass through Barmer (Rajasthan), Bhilwara (Rajasthan), Dholpur (Rajasthan), Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Ambala (Haryana) and Amritsar (Punjab).
This sluggish pace is likely to result in deficient monsoon rain in the month of July despite heavy showers expected over the next two weeks. Until Sunday, there was an overall 8% deficiency in rain in the country, with 23% shortfall in northwest India, 6% in east and north-east India, and 9% in central India. Only in the southern peninsula was there a surplus of rainfall of 7%, according to IMD data.