The onset of the southwest monsoon over Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other parts of north India is likely to be delayed by at least one more week.

Speaking to The Hindu, Director-General of India Meteorological Department Ajit Tyagi said the monsoon flow had once again become weak and consequently the low pressure system over the north Bay of Bengal was fizzling out. However, there was still no cause for worry as there were signals that the monsoon could revive over the next three to five days.

Acknowledging that there was already a delay of about 10 days in the onset of the system over Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Tyagi said there could be a cause for alarm only if it did not arrive over the State by July 5. “We are hopeful that it would set in over the State before that.”

On the likely time of onset over Delhi, the IMD chief said it would all depend on how the circulation in the offing develops. “Presently, we don't know how far it would intensify. If it becomes strong, it will bring monsoon to Delhi too. Otherwise, we may have to wait for a further five to six days.”

Terming the repeated weakening of the monsoon “initial glitches,” senior meteorologists stressed that rains during July and August were more important and that most of the models in different parts of the world had indicated that rains would keep increasing as the season progressed.

Rains during July were expected to be 98 per cent of the long period average (LPA) for that month and for August, 101 per cent of the LPA. “We are confident that things would improve in the coming days, weeks and months.”

The IMD had only a few days ago revised its forecast for the season upwards to 102 per cent of the LPA from the earlier prediction of 98 per cent of the LPA made in April.

It is essential that the country receives bountiful rainfall this year, considering that there was a severe drought last year.

Last year, the department had forecast a rainfall of 96 per cent of the LPA in April, which was revised to 93 per cent of the LPA in June. But, it actually got only 78 per cent of the LPA. As of now, the monsoon has covered about half of the country and the overall rainfall is deficient by 12 per cent.

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