The stage is set for a grand entry of south-west monsoon in Andamans and in quick succession in Kerala, raising hopes for a favourable season for millions of farmers across the country.

“Conditions are favourable for setting in of the south-west monsoon over Andaman Sea during the next 24-48 hours,” the India Meteorological Department said this evening.

The department said that conditions were also favourable for the onset of monsoon over Kerala in the next three days.

Earlier this month, the IMD had said that monsoon would reach Kerala on May 31 with a model error of four days.

Satellite pictures taken at 1430 IST today showed convective clouds over parts of east India and north-eastern states, Tamil Nadu, Bay of Bengal, north Andaman Sea and west central and south Arabian Sea.

A short-term forecast by IMD valid until Tuesday said that widespread rain would occur over Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep and Kerala.

The onset over south Andaman is more than a week late than the normal May 15-20 dates, but scientists say the delay would have no effect on the onset of monsoon over Kerala.

The onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala heralds the beginning of rainy season in the Indian sub—continent.

The timing, spread and amount of rainfall, which has been forecast at 98 per cent of the 50-year average in India this year, are crucial for the farm-based economy.

The sowing of kharif crops like rice, pulses and oilseeds starts with the arrival of the first rains.