Monsoon inches northwards; covers Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh

Southwest Monsoon started northwards on Thursday after a 10-day lull, covering parts of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and large tracts of Vidarbha, bringing relief to the parched regions that were reeling under hot weather conditions.

India Meteorological Department data showed the country has received 17 per cent deficient rainfall than normal this monsoon season — 77 mm as against the normal of 92.8 mm between June 1 and 20.

“Southwest Monsoon has further advanced into some more parts of Vidarbha, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Northwest Bay of Bengal, Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and some parts of Bihar,” the weather office said.

The IMD said conditions were favourable for further advance of Southwest Monsoon into some more parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Gangetic and sub-Himalayan West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and east Uttar Pradesh during the next three to four days.

After reaching the Indian mainland two days earlier than usual and swiftly covering many other states, the rain-bearing system made no significant progress between June 10 and 19, extending the wait for north India, which is reeling from a sweltering heat wave.

Since June 1, northwest India has recorded 14.2 mm of rainfall (63 per cent less than normal), central India 58 mm (33 per cent less than normal), the south peninsula 117.6 mm (13 per cent excess than normal), and east and northeast India 188.5 mm (four per cent less than normal).

In an update to its forecast earlier this week, the IMD had said monsoon rains in the month of June would be below normal.

The southwest monsoon advanced into parts of the Nicobar Islands on May 19. It subsequently covered most parts of the south and some parts of the central Bay of Bengal by May 26 along with Cyclone Remal. It simultaneously reached Kerala and the northeastern states on May 30, two and six days earlier than normal, respectively.

Last month, the IMD said the country could see above-normal rainfall in the four-month monsoon season (June to September) with cumulative rainfall estimated at 106 per cent of the LPA of 87 cm.

Below-normal monsoon rainfall is expected in northeast India, normal in the northwest and above-normal in central and south peninsular regions of the country.

India`s core monsoon zone covering most of the rain-fed agriculture areas in the country is predicted to receive above-normal rainfall this season, the MeT office said.

The monsoon is critical for India`s agricultural landscape, with 52 per cent of the net cultivated area relying on it. It is also crucial for replenishing reservoirs critical for drinking water and power generation.

According to the Central Water Commission, water storage in 150 major reservoirs in India dropped to just 22 per cent of their live storage last week amid the prevailing heat wave, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation.

June and July are considered the most important monsoon months for agriculture because most of the sowing for the Kharif crop takes place during this period.
El Nino conditions are prevailing at present and La Nina may set in by August-September, scientists said.

El Nino — the periodic warming of surface waters in the central Pacific Ocean — is associated with weaker monsoon winds and drier conditions in India. La Nina — the antithesis of El Nino — leads to plentiful rainfall during the monsoon season.

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