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Prepare for a dry, torrid summer, warns Met dept

Extreme heat in many parts of central and east India, dry soil from lack of adequate pre-monsoon showers and a sluggish start to the monsoon as forecast by IMD earlier, are likely to pose a challenge for farmers.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2019 04:25 IST
Jayashree Nandi
Jayashree Nandi
New Delhi
Summer,Hot,Dry
Many parts of India, especially the central and eastern one, should get ready for a dry and torrid summer, the India Meteorological Department warned on Saturday.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT PHOTO)

Many parts of India, especially the central and eastern one, should get ready for a dry and torrid summer, the India Meteorological Department warned on Saturday, pointing out that pre-monsoon rainfall has been 27% below the long period average (LPA) of 59.6 mm in March and April.

Extreme heat in many parts of central and east India, dry soil from lack of adequate pre-monsoon showers and a sluggish start to the monsoon as forecast by IMD earlier, are likely to pose a challenge for farmers, already reeling under the impact of an agrarian crisis, during the sowing season in June.

The north-eastern states led by Arunachal Pradesh are facing the most rain deficit, followed by eastern Uttar Pradesh, Himachal and Jammu and Kashmir in the north and Maharashtra and Gujarat in the west.

The lack of rain has also meant that several parts of the country are reeling under the grip of dry heat. IMD has forecast heat waves in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, East Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and Odisha during the first week of May.

Both south peninsular region and east and northeast India which receive widespread pre-monsoon showers have received 31% and 23% below their LPA rainfall respectively during the past two months.

Heat wave conditions are being reported from Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and parts of Maharashtra, parts of which have been hit hard by a drought. The highest maximum temperature of the season was recorded at Khargone in West Madhya Pradesh on April 26 -- 46.6 degrees Celsius.

“Day maximum temperatures are very likely to rise by 2-3 degree C over northwest, central and east India and Maharashtra during April 25 to May 1,” IMD said in its bulletin.

“If there is deficient moisture in soil, the rain water during monsoon will infiltrate and compensate the moisture loss but if there is adequate moisture from pre-monsoon showers, the monsoon helps maintain those conditions. This of course depends on the soil type and the region,” said DS Pai, senior scientist from IMD Pune.

“Our forecast of above normal heat wave conditions holds good. This is because weak El Niño conditions are prevailing over the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Some models are showing that it may persist till the end of summer while some are saying that it may weaken from mid-June,” he added.

El Nino, a weather phenomenon characterized by warm ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific ocean have a correlation with a weak monsoon and more episodes of heat waves in India. According to IMD’s weather outlook till May 8, a cyclonic storm likely to make landfall on April 30 near the Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast is likely to bring heavy to extremely heavy rainfall (more than 20 cm) at some parts of both states, compensating for the deficit in the southern peninsular region. Most reservoirs supplying water to the city of Chennai are already dry.

A western disturbance is likely to bring thundershowers over Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand later in the week. Altogether, IMD has forecast above normal rain over coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala, South Interior Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir and some parts of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh between April 25 to May 1.

That may not help.

Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change) at Skymet Weather said: “Even if we get good showers in May in some southern parts, overall pre-monsoon rainfall is likely to be deficient. This will affect the sowing during the Kharif (monsoon or summer crop) season. Parts of Madhya Pradesh and Vidarbha have already recorded temperatures above 45 degrees. This will intensify in May, heat waves will increase. We have already forecast a below normal monsoon rainfall due to El Nino. Overall, soil moisture may be very low in the beginning of the sowing season.”

First Published: Apr 28, 2019 04:25 IST