The long wait for the onset of monsoon over Kerala could be finally getting over: the system could break out over the southern State by Wednesday.
A visibly relieved Director General of India Meteorology Department, L.S. Rathore, told a group of reporters that conditions were becoming favourable for the onset of the system over Kerala over the next 48 hours.
"Rains have begun over the Central and northern parts of the State today. The wind has started blowing in the right direction. The wind speed is gaining strength. It’s now blowing in a westerly direction at a speed of about 30 knots or 50 kmph. Everything is falling into place. We should be able to declare the onset by Wednesday", he said.
There had been concerns over the onset as the northern limit of the monsoon current had remained stationary for over a week from May 26 even as conditions were favourable for it to move up northwards. On Monday, it finally budged and by evening had covered some parts of south Arabian Sea, some more parts of Maldive & Comorin areas and southwest Bay of Bengal.
[Onset over Kerala is significant as it is the entry point for monsoon into the Indian mainland. June 1 is the normal date for the onset over the State].
The IMD has forecast that the monsoon this year "mostly likely" to be normal, with a rainfall of 99 per cent of the long period average [LPA], with a model error of plus or minus five per cent.
The forecast also noted that there was a 47 per cent probability of the rainfall to be between 96 percent and 104 per cent, 24 per cent probability for it to be between 90-96 per cent, 17 per cent probability for between 104 to 110 per cent, eight per cent probability for being below 90 per cent and four per cent probability for above 110 per cent of the LPA.
Dr. Rathore reiterated that though June 1 was the normal date for onset over Kerala, a delay of four to five days should not matter. "There is absolutely no one-to-one relationship between the date of the onset of the monsoon and the overall performance of the four month season".
Asked about reports that it was becoming more and more clear that the El Nino phenomenon could emerge in August-September, he said that though global models did show that there was a good possibility for the emergence of the phenomenon, it remains to be seen whether it would have an adverse impact on monsoon.
"There have been years when El Nino had an adverse impact, but there have also been years when it did not have. After all, it is not the only factor that affects the monsoon. There are so many other aspects that also play a role. In fact, the El Nino was the worst in 1997. But India had a good monsoon that year".