India Monsoon Rains Seen Normal With No La Nina, Skymet Says
A man wearing a protective face mask runs along a deserted Marine drive in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

India Monsoon Rains Seen Normal With No La Nina, Skymet Says

India will probably experience normal monsoon rainfall this year as La Nina or El Nino weather conditions, which impact rain patterns, are likely to be absent, according to a private forecaster.

Downpours during the June-September rainy season are likely to be 103% of the long-term average, Skymet Weather Services Pvt said Tuesday. The forecast has a margin of error of 5%, it said.

The monsoon is the lifeline of Asia’s third-largest economy because about 800 million of its more than 1.3 billion population depend directly or indirectly on farming. The rainy season is crucial for agriculture as it not only irrigates fields, but also fills reservoirs to provide water for crops sown in the winter.

India Monsoon Rains Seen Normal With No La Nina, Skymet Says

The odds of a normal monsoon stand at 60%, with a 15% chance of above-normal rains and a 10% probability of excess rainfall, Skymet said in a webinar. The likelihood of below-normal rains is only 15%.

A good rainy season will favor crops and the economy. “A normal monsoon in 2021 will help further strengthen rural demand, especially shielding it from risks of a second Covid wave,” said Rahul Bajoria, Mumbai-based chief India economist at Barclays Plc. Another year of bountiful rains will be welcome at a time when the country is fighting to contain the pandemic, he said.

As much as 90% of total rainfall occurs during the monsoon period. Deficient rain in the country, the world’s second-largest producer of rice, wheat and sugar, often means a drop in farm output, drinking-water shortages, and higher imports of commodities like edible oils.

A rainy season is considered normal when recorded rains are 96% to 104% of the national average of just over 88 centimeters (35 inches). Rainfall last year was almost 9% more than the average, falling under India’s Meteorological Department’s definition of a normal monsoon. The IMD, the official weather bureau, is expected to release its forecast in the middle of this month.

More from the webinar:

  • Normal rain likely in eastern and central parts during the four-month period, but northern and northeast regions face some risk of sub-normal rainfall.
  • Showers in June seen at 106% of the long-term average of 16.69 centimeters; 70% chance of normal rain; 20% probability of above normal; 10% chance of below normal.
    • Below-normal showers seen in Tamil Nadu and northeastern parts of the country.
  • Rain in July, the wettest month, may be 97% of average 28.53 centimeters; 75% chance of normal; 10% possibility of above normal; 15% chance of below normal.
    • Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to witness good rains.
    • Below-normal rains likely in northeast and Karnataka.
  • August rains seen at 99% of average; September showers at 116%.

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