The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on June 30 forecast ‘normal’ rainfall in July, which usually receives the maximum amount of rain among the monsoon months. This means it will be within 6% of the 28 cm that is usual for the month.
“Normal to above normal rainfall is most likely over most parts of central India and adjoining south peninsular and east India … below normal rainfall is most likely over many parts of northwest, northeast and southeast peninsular India,” the IMD said in a statement.
The forecast is significant given that this is expected to be an El Nino year, which most often leads to below normal rainfall in India.
July is also the month when sowing of the kharif crop, particularly rice, peaks. Rainfall in this period significantly influences agricultural output.
This year, Cyclone Biparjoy obstructed the normal onset of the monsoon over Kerala and contributed to depressed rainfall over most parts of the country, particular the regions most dependent on rainwater for agriculture.
Central India has received 6% less rainfall that what is usual for the region in June and southern India close to 45% less.
June, overall, has witnessed 10% less rainfall than what is normal for the month. M. Mohapatra, Director-General, IMD, said that rain had picked up in the recent weeks. As El Nino is yet to strengthen, good rain is expected in most parts of India until July 13, as per the IMD’s weather models.
Past data suggested that in most of the recent El Nino years, June rainfall was normal. In 16 of the 25 years when June rainfall was ‘below normal,’ July rainfall was ‘normal’.
In June, the IMD said that rainfall in the June-September period was likely to be ‘normal’ or 96% of the Long Period Average (LPA) of 87 cm.