Monsoon delayed by another week

No strong surge over Bay of Bengal; farmers in rain-fed areas to face problems

 Weathermen on Friday said that in the absence of any strong surge over the Bay of Bengal the monsoon was not likely to advance over the central plains in the next week.
If the monsoon rain does not arrive by June-end, farmers in the rain-fed zones will face problems as the July rainfall is crucial to prepare the ground for sowing paddy, maize, bajra, ragi, groundnut, black gram, golden gram and sugarcane.

Pushed by a strong cyclonic current in the Bay of Bengal, the south-west monsoon reached the Kerala coast on May 23, almost a week in advance. Subsequent to the monsoon onset, the catastrophic cyclonic storm, Aila, hit West Bengal, advancing the monsoon in the eastern and north-eastern states.

But in the last 11 days, the monsoon had not moved from its early position at all, worrying weathermen. In normal circumstances, the monsoon should have reached west Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and east Rajasthan by now.

The cumulative rainfall recorded for the country between June 1 and June 17 as a whole is 39.5 mm against a normal rainfall of 72.5 mm. This means a deficiency of almost 45 per cent. Of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, rainfall was in excess or normal only in eight, while it remained deficient and scanty in 28 subdivisions. The monsoon advanced on schedule in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. But since June 7, there has barely been any rainfall.

“Coastal Karnataka and parts of Kerala witnessed some rainfall only in the last two days after a week. But the monsoon current is still very weak and those rains may not sustain,” a scientist associated with the monsoon forecast told Deccan Herald.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department, deficient rainfall marks 20-59 per cent shortage and scanty denotes 60-99 per cent shortage.

Scanty and deficient rainfall for large swathes of the country, coupled with an alarming forecast, indicates serious concerns for the farmers and no respite for the people.

Since normally monsoon covers most of the country, except the north-western region by June 20, there has already been a delay of 10 days. However, the officials held out hope as they claimed that there were some signals of gradual strengthening of monsoon current and an increase in the pressure gradient over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. 

Consequently, there may be some pre-monsoon showers along the west coast and in some parts of Maharashtra in the next 2-3 days.

Cause for worry

* Late monsoon rain worries weathermen
* Deficiency of almost 45 per cent
* Cyclone Aila disrupted monsoon over eastern and north-eastern states. 
* Monsoon timely in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. But since June 7, there is barely any rainfall 
* Farmers in rain-fed zone will face problems if monsoon is delayed even by June-end
* There are some signals of gradual strengthening of monsoon current in the Bay of Bengal

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