Monsoon hits Kerala with cyclone in the background

India would likely get 102%, or 2% more rain, between June-September than what the agency initially forecast in April

Updated - June 19, 2020 06:26 pm IST

Published - June 01, 2020 12:54 pm IST - New Delhi

Thiruvananthapuram has been witnessing intermittent rain spells overnight from Sunday. A scene from Panathura island in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday morning.

Thiruvananthapuram has been witnessing intermittent rain spells overnight from Sunday. A scene from Panathura island in Thiruvananthapuram on Monday morning.

The monsoon has arrived in Kerala, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Monday. This is four days earlier than what the IMD had forecast in mid-May but is also the date on which the monsoon normally sets in over the State.

However, 700 km from Mumbai, a nascent cyclone is brewing in the Arabian Sea and likely to hit north Maharashtra as well as the Gujarat coast by June 3. “Its track is northward but will recurve into Harihareshwar and Daman. However, more details on the potential damage would be available once it begins to form. Right now, it’s a depression in the South East Arabian Sea and is about 690 km away from Mumbai,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director-General, IMD, said at a press conference.

The IMD’s latest cyclone update expects it to balloon into a “severe cyclone” by the middle of the week.

The presence of a cyclone near land during the monsoon onset could delay the progress of the monsoon and put it into a “hiatus,” Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said at a press conference.

After Kerala, the monsoon is normally expected to reach Goa, Arunachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Assam by June 5 and Mumbai by June 10. But the cyclone, if it persists or gains in strength, could block the monsoon system.

Squally wind with speeds reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were prevailing over the Arabian Sea. It would likely become 50-60 kmph, gusting to 70 kmph, during the next 48 hours and amplify to 105-115 kmph by the time the cyclone makes landfall. These gales, along with heavy rain, are likely to be registered in Raigad, Mumbai, Palghar and Thane in Maharashtra, the IMD’s latest advisory notes.

On Monday, the IMD announced that India would get more rain — or 2% more than its 88 cm long period average — than initially anticipated. “In April, we’d said India is likely to get 100% of its long period average between June and September. The good news is that we are likely to get some more,” he said.

Most parts of India, except for the north-eastern region, are expected to get more rain than normal. North-western India is expected to get 107% of its normal, central India 103%, and the southern peninsula 102%. North-eastern India is expected to get only 96% of its long term average. Rains in July were likely to be 3% above what’s usual for the month, but August would see a 3% decline, Mr. Rajeevan added.

The agency expects increased rainfall because of slim chances of an El Nino, or a warming of the central Pacific during monsoon. “Currently, ENSO Neutral conditions are prevailing over the equatorial Pacific and neutral Indian Ocean Dipole conditions (an ocean temperature gradient) are prevailing over the Indian Ocean. Global models are indicating cool ENSO conditions are likely to prevail during the monsoon season, with some possibility of development of weak La Niña conditions in the later part of the monsoon season,” the organisation said in a statement.

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