WEATHER WATCH: Monsoon so far, so good – Deficient in Bengal; subdued week ahead – but disasters already hitting the Hills and Dooars ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
New Delhi, June 18: India has received 97 per cent of the expected normal rainfall since the beginning of the monsoon season on June 1, the national weather agency said today, but predicted subdued rainfall activity in the week ahead.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the all-India rainfall from June 1 to June 17 was just 3 per cent below normal. It also said a temporary weakening of the monsoon current was likely during the coming week.
“But things look pretty good right now — much better than at this time last year,” said Damodar Pai, a senior scientist at the IMD’s National Climate Centre in Pune.
The IMD has predicted fairly widespread rainfall over the northeastern states, the western coast, Bengal and Sikkim, and scattered rainfall over Bihar, Jharkhand and Orissa over the next week.
Weather simulations suggest that a low-pressure zone is expected to form over the northern Bay of Bengal, strengthen the monsoon and increase rainfall over eastern and central India from June 25.
The monsoon rainfall has so far been deficient over Bengal this year — 55 per cent below normal for Gangetic Bengal and 34 per cent below normal for the northern part of the state.
India’s northeastern region has experienced a 22 per cent rainfall deficit so far this year but this could change quickly, Pai said. “But it is still early in the season and rainfall in the coming weeks is expected to change these numbers.”
Between June 1 and June 16, 12 of India’s 36 meteorological subdivisions — all in the southern peninsular region — received excess rainfall, which was 20 per cent or higher than the normal.
But central India, the Northeast and the northwest have received deficient or scanty rainfall — below 20 per cent of the normal.
The IMD is expected to issue an updated forecast for July and August rainfall next week.
India had experienced a drought last year with a 22 per cent rain deficit during the monsoon season. The cumulative monsoon rainfall recorded on June 17, 2009, had been about 45 per cent below normal.