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Monsoon likely in Kerala by June 1

By Jayashree Nandi, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2020 11:32 PM IST

The monsoon is likely to arrive in Kerala around its normal onset date of June 1, weather forecasting officials said on Thursday, after observing new developing patterns that could speed up the progress of the rain system.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) earlier said the monsoon may be delayed by four days but a low pressure that is likely to form over the southeast and adjoining east-central Arabian Sea could help make up for the delay at present.

“The low-pressure area is likely to bring rain to the west coast and make conditions favourable for advancement of monsoon earlier than expected. We can expect onset of monsoon over Kerala around June 1 or 2,” said M Mohapatra, director general, IMD.

The Arabian Sea is “very warm” and parts of it are conducive for development and intensification of a cyclone but IMD scientists said it is too early to give details of cyclone development.

“The models are not giving us a consensus statement right now. Some are showing intensification to a very intense or an extremely intense cyclone but many other global models are not showing such intensification. So, it’s too early to tell but a low-pressure area will form around May 31 to June 1. Sea conditions are favourable for intensification into a cyclone,” he added.

In its April forecast, IMD said monsoon rains this year are likely to be normal at 100% of long period average with model error of 5%.

The monsoon, technically known as the southwest monsoon, is crucial for India’s farmers who rely on rain for irrigation of summer crops. Around 60% of the country’s net-sown area does not have any form of irrigation. Millions of farmers wait for the rains to begin summer sowing of major crops, such as rice, sugar, cotton, coarse cereals and oilseeds.

Deficient monsoon years have coincided with a drop in rural earnings, a factor that is likely to be more closely watched this year due to the widespread erosion of the economy as a result of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic and the lockdown it led to.

The monsoon season begins in June and lasts till September. The rains usually cover most of the country by mid-July, though the pace is often independent of when it makes landfall on the subcontinent.

Private forecaster Skymet Weather said the cyclone that is feared to develop may only move along the coast as a depression. “The low-pressure system that will develop will be a fast moving system and is likely to move along the coast as a depression. It will bring heavy rains to Maharashtra and south Gujarat but may not intensify into a cyclone,” said Mahesh Palawat, VP, climate and meteorology at Skymet Weather. “But the low pressure area will help pull monsoon current upwards and make it conducive for monsoon onset,” he added.

Another low- pressure area has already developed over westcentral Arabian Sea. It is very likely to concentrate into a depression over the same region during next 48 hours and move northwestwards towards south Oman and east Yemen coast during next three days, the IMD said in a statement. Scientists are not expecting the current low pressure area to have much impact on the Indian coast.

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