IMD, in its first monsoon forecast on April 15, said that India is likely to receive near-normal rainfall at 96 percent (Photographer: Sanjit Das/Bloomberg)

Monsoon To Be Below Normal This Year With ‘Sluggish’ Advance, Says Skymet

Monsoon in India is likely to make a timely onset this year, private weather forecaster Skymet said today, sticking to its earlier prediction of a below normal rainfall season.

“The initial advancement of monsoon over peninsular India is going to be slow,” it said. All four regions—east, west, north and south—are likely to witness lesser than normal rainfall, it said, with precipitation over east, northeast and central parts poorer than northwest India and the southern peninsula.

According to Skymet, Monsoon 2019 probabilities are:

  • 0 percent chance of excess rainfall.
  • 0 percent chance of above normal rainfall.
  • 30 percent chance of normal rainfall.
  • 55 percent chance of below normal rainfall.
  • 15 percent chance of drought rainfall.

The monsoon is considered ‘normal’ if the average rainfall is between 96 and 104 percent of the long-period average. Anything less than 90 percent is ‘deficient’, while 90-96 percent is ‘below normal’. Between 104 to 110 is ‘above normal’ and beyond 110 is ‘excess’.

Slow Onset

Expect a timely onset of the southwest monsoon, but expect sluggish start to the season, Skymet said.

  • The southwest monsoon is expected to reach Kerala by June 4 (+/- 2 days).
  • Monsoon to reach Andaman & Nicobar islands on May 22, with an error margin of +/- 2 days.
  • Expect intense pre-monsoon showers of Kerala in the last week of May.

Skymet had in April said that monsoon rains are likely to be below normal due to growing El Nino conditions. It predicted rainfall at 93 percent of the long-period average (+/-5 percent) through June to September.

The Indian Meteorological Department, in its first monsoon forecast on April 15, said that India is likely to receive near-normal rainfall at 96 percent of the long-period average (+/-5 percent) and while El Nino conditions do persist, they're likely to weaken as the season progresses.

The monsoon was below-normal last year after two successive years of normal rains. A good monsoon, which waters more than half of India’s farmland, is crucial to boost consumption in the Indian economy. Summer rainfall and its distribution largely determine crop output and is among the most important factors in guiding food inflation.

So far, pre-monsoon rainfall from March to April—a phenomenon critical to agriculture in some parts of the country—has recorded a 27 percent deficit, according to IMD.

Watch the full interaction with Skymet MD Jatin Singh here:

Also read: Even A ‘Near Normal’ Monsoon Can Lead To Water Distress