Of 681 Indian districts, 39% see monsoon deficit as IMD signals revival

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The southwest monsoon was 33 per cent below normal in the first week of August, pulling down the cumulative shortfall to almost 10 per cent. The week in question is one of the worsts in terms of performance this year, data released by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed on Thursday.

Several parts of the country, barring Kerala (which is faced with floods), Odisha, eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, received less than normal rainfall in the August 02-08 week.

So far, data showed around 39 per cent of the 681 districts in the country have received deficient rainfall, while showers have been normal in remaining 69 per cent in this monsoon season from June 1 to August 09.

Jharkhand (-24%), Saurashtra and Kutch (-26%), North Interior Karnataka (-24%), Rayalaseema (-41%) and Marathwada (-18%) are the areas staring at a drought-like situation unless there is big revival.

Farmers from a village in Marathwada have filed a police complaint against the IMD for making what they say misleading forecasts and allegedly colluding with seed and pesticide companies to inflate monsoon forecasts. Marathwada’s several districts are facing a drought-like situation.
The weather department, though, signaled a revival in monsoon. Under the influence of a fresh low pressure area (which is likely to form over northwest Bay of Bengal and the neighbourhood around 13 August) and strong southerly winds from Bay of Bengal to northeastern states, fairly widespread to widespread rainfall and heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places are very likely over the northeastern states, West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, eastern UP, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh on most days of the next one week.

Western Rajasthan, Gujarat, Marathwada, Telangana, Rayalaseema and Tamil Nadu are expected to get scattered rainfall during the next two weeks.

Last week, the IMD, in its second seasonal forecast, said rains in August and September would be 'normal’ at 95 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA). The prediction came days after private weather forecasting agency, Skymet, predicted 'below normal' rains in the remaining two months of the southwest monsoon season.

The forecast is with a model error of plus and minus 8 per cent.

In August, the Met said in a statement that rains were not only expected to be normal but might even be higher than what was predicted in June at 96 per cent of the LPA.

In June, when the weather office came out with its forecast for regional distribution, it said rains in August would be 94 per cent of the LPA.

The forecast is with a model error of plus and minus 9 per cent.

The forecast for August rains is in variance with that of Skymet, which said rains in the month would be ‘deficient’ at 88 per cent of the LPA. IMD predicted it to be ‘normal’ at 96 per cent of the LPA.

During the last two months, IMD said there was a 63 per cent chance of monsoon being normal.

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