The end-game for the four-month-long south-west monsoon season has begun, even as the deficiency in the cumulative rainfall across the country since the beginning of the season, continues to hover around 20 per cent, making it one of the worst drought years of the century.

The India Meteorology Department on Friday announced that the system had started withdrawing. “The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from many parts of west Rajasthan. The withdrawal line passes through Sri Ganganagar, Churu, Jodhpur and Barmer,” an IMD press release said.

It has been a roller-coaster ride for the monsoon season this year. Starting with a deficiency of 32 per cent for the week ending June 3, it has been a continuous story of deficiencies right through the season.

The situation was the worst around June-end, when the deficiency reached 54 per cent during the week ended June 24. It improved somewhat during July, with the deficiency coming down to 19 per cent during the week ended July 22. It remained at that level for the next one week and then climbed to 25 per cent during the week ended August 5. Since then, it has remained in the 20 per cent to 30 per cent region.

As of Wednesday, the cumulative rainfall deficiency was 22 per cent. This is one per cent more than what was recorded a week ago [September 16]. It however remains to be seen what the final tally would be on September 30, when the season officially comes to an end.

According to the latest IMD forecast, even while the system is likely to withdraw from more parts of northwest India over the next three to four days, there could be fairly widespread rainfall activity, with even isolated heavy falls over Orissa and Andhra Pradesh from Saturday to Monday. Widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy falls is also likely in Maharashtra and Goa from Tuesday to next Friday.

Concurrently, rainfall activity might also increase over other parts of the peninsular region and there is a possibility of scattered rains over the north-eastern States and adjoining east India.

A fresh bout is expected as there are signs that a low-pressure area could form over the west-central and the adjoining northwest region of the Bay of Bengal during the next two days, and that it could move in a west-north-westward direction.

Meanwhile, the northwest continues to top the list in terms of rainfall deficiency. As of Wednesday, the region comprising Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan had recorded a deficiency of 34 per cent.

It was followed by the north-east, with a deficiency of 25 per cent. The region comprises Bihar, West Bengal, and Jharkhand, apart from the north-eastern States.

Central India, comprising Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat came third with a deficiency of 19 per cent. The southern peninsula region, comprising Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, brought up the rear with a deficiency of eight per cent.

In terms of meteorological districts, out of the total 533, as many as 39 (or seven per cent) have recorded “scanty” rainfall (or a deficiency of over 60 per cent) and a whopping 259 others (or 49 per cent) “deficient” rainfall (or a deficiency of between 20 per cent and 59 per cent).

Incidentally, 34 of the 259 “deficient” districts were located in the south peninsular region. This includes 14 districts in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Tamil Nadu, six in Kerala, two in Karnataka. The remaining two are: the sole district of Puducherry and the Nicobar district of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

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