Southwest monsoon covers entire India, arrives 4 days behind schedule

The southwest monsoon, which has had an erratic run this year, covered the entire country on Friday — four days behind schedule.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement that the monsoon had progressed into remaining parts of West Rajasthan. The progress of the rains has been in fits and starts, and the quantum of rain has also varied across different regions.

Of the 36 meteorological subdivisions, 21 had deficit rain and 15 had normal.

In Marathwada, Vidarbha, Telangana, Saurashtra, and Kutch, the cumulative rainfall deficiency has been more than 35 per cent so far.

The rains entered India on June 8, after a delay of more than a week. Its progress across south, central and east India was hampered by Cyclone Vayu in the Arabian Sea which sucked out much of its strength.

As a result of which the rains reached these parts almost 10-15 days behind schedule.

In June, the total rain across the country was 33 per cent below normal — this is the worst performance in five years.

As a result, kharif acreage went down and reservoirs dried up as a heat wave intensified.

In end-June, sowing of kharif crops was almost 25 per cent less than the normal area covered in past five years. This deficiency increased the first week of July.

Water levels in the reservoirs also dipped from 30.5 billion cubic meters (BCM) on June 6 to 26.94 BCM in the first week of July.

But, thereafter, the rains revived and within of span of less than a fortnight, the cumulative monsoon shortfall dropped by almost 64 per cent.

“The all-India rainfall during 1 to 19 July is 165.7 mm against its normal rainfall of 170.5 mm (deficient by 3 per cent),” the Met department said.

The rains though again went for a mid-month break. The weakness over central and west India might continue till end-July.

This has also widened the kharif-sowing deficit and shortfall in cumulative rains has also increased to 18 per cent less than normal.

“There are fresh weather systems forming and we hope that much of the cumulative rainfall deficit would be wiped out by end of July,” a senior IMD official said.

Till July 19, kharif crops were sown in about 56.73 million hectares, which is 6.8 per cent less than last year.

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