Scanty rains in north-west cause of concern, clouds IMD's outlook

FaThe cumulative deficiency, which went up to 45 per cent in Gujarat of Central India, will narrow in the coming days, said the IMDrmers prepare jute plants for retting, in Nadia district
Rainfall in North-West India “remains a slight area of concern” as the monsoon revival may not be strong enough to make up for the deficiency, said officials  of the India Meteorological Department (IMD), on Thursday. This comes amid the Southwest monsoon entering its crucial third month.

Though rainfall in these regions has revived over the last few days, the officials said some deficiency would remain. Western Uttar Pradesh, eastern Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Jammu & Kashmir come under the North-West region.

However, they added that conditions were favourable for a revival in Central India, which also faced huge deficiency in July.

Central India largely comprises Madhya Pradesh, parts of Gujarat, western Odisha, and parts of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, where the rains took a break in July after good progress in June.

The cumulative deficiency, which went up to 45 per cent in Gujarat of Central India, will narrow in the coming days, said the IMD.

Between June 1 and August 6, the Southwest monsoon showed deficiency in 225 out of 685 districts — the bulk of which are in Central and North-West India (UP, MP, Gujarat and Haryana).

“Deficiency started reducing in Central India from August 3, with monsoon revival commencing. This was because of a fresh low pressure formation over the Bay of Bengal. We expect another low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal around August 9, which will push towards Central India right up to Gujarat and narrow the shortfall further by August 15,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of the IMD, told Business Standard.

The Southwest monsoon showed a lull across most regions of Central and North-West India in July, thus putting millions of hectares of kharif crops at risk. The rains — at more than 12 per cent above normal in June — showed deficiency of 10 per cent in July. 

The lull caused panic as July-August is traditionally the peak period of the four-month Southwest monsoon. The IMD had predicted rains at 3 per cent above the Long Period Average (LPA) at 103 per cent in July, while actual rainfall came in at nearly 10 per cent below the LPA.

“Usually, we get 3-4 low pressure areas over the Bay of Bengal in July, which move across Central India to the North… Central India is very much dependent on this low pressure area. However, we didn’t get any low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal this year, which led to this lull,” said Mohapatra.

He said this major deficiency occurred in July over Central and North-West India. 

Other areas received normal rainfall. However the situation is changing now, he added. “There could have been some impact on crops if the break had carried on for longer, over Central India, given there were instances of plants withering. Thankfully, though, the monsoon revived just in time,” said Mohapatra. He said the monsoon had entered a very active phase in Central India, which would cause improved rainfall. India has so far (till August 6) received 503.7 millimetres of rainfall, which is normal for this time of the year. “There has been a cumulative all-India shortfall (as of yesterday), which will be covered up, and in the next few days it will turn into a surplus,” he said.

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