Late in Mumbai, less in Maharashtra: Skymet’s monsoon forecast
The southwest monsoon is likely to make a delayed arrival in Mumbai, with Maharashtra staring at deficient rainfall, especially during the first half of the season (June and July), this year. The monsoon forecast, released on Wednesday by private weather forecasting agency Skymet, stated that 24 of 36 districts in the state are at “high risk” and may record below normal rainfall.
“For Mumbai, the southwest monsoon will be delayed and is expected to set in by the second half of June. The intensity [of rain] throughout the season will not be as high as it has been over the past few years. But, a couple of heavy spells cannot be ruled out,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (Meteorology and Climate Change), Skymet. “The second half of the season (August and September) is expected to be better.” The southwest monsoon, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), hits Kerala by June 1 and usually arrives in Maharashtra and Mumbai between June 8 and 10. It withdraws in September.
Skymet’s weather models indicate that in June and the first two weeks of July, there will be deficient rain, especially over Vidarbha, Marathwada and adjoining parts of Maharashtra. “Droughtlike conditions are expected across some districts of Marathwada, but it is difficult to identify exact areas now,” said Palawat. “Not all 24 districts will get severely deficient rainfall, but overall rain will be less.”
The Delhi-based agency said India will witness a “below normal” monsoon owing to an 80% chance of El Niño from March to May, dropping to 60% from June to August. El Niño is a weather phenomenon caused when warm water from the western Pacific Ocean flows towards the east. “The Pacific Ocean has become strongly warmer than average. The scenario changed in February and presently, moderate El Niño conditions are prevailing over the Pacific Ocean. In fact, El Niño could be declared anytime now. Other factors such as the Indian Ocean Dipole might help support rainfall activity during August and September, while it is still early to factor in other influences,” said Jatin Singh, managing director, Skymet.
The IMD, however, refused to comment on Skymet’s forecast. “Our summer forecast released on Monday only talks about weak El Niño conditions, which is in no manner indicative of how the monsoon season will be. It is too early to say anything. Our forecast will be issued around April 15,” said Dr KJ Ramesh, director general, IMD.