Heatwave rages on as monsoon pauses
Private forecaster Skymet says monsoon will remain weak even after arrival, which itself will be delayed.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said rains will hit the Kerala coast on June 6. Private forecaster Skymet, which initially forecast a June 4 arrival, now says it will take another three days.
The arrival date has little bearing on the subsequent progress of the monsoon, which has a significant influence on rural income and demand for consumer goods, automobiles and gold. Farmers can also put up with some delay without taking a hit on yields.
However, Skymet said monsoon will remain weak even after arrival. “In fact, it may go silent soon after its onset,” it said in a recent update.
The IMD says the monsoon will resume its journey towards the subcontinent in the next 24 hours. In an updated forecast, it said June-September rainfall will be normal, or within 4% of average.
Adding to the anxiety is the severe heatwave that is seeing soaring temperatures. Chu-ru, Rajasthan, tops the charts with a maximum of 50.8°C.
Apart from the obvious health hazards, farmers face severe depletion of soil moisture.
There has also been a surge in power demand as refrigerators and airconditioners consume that much more energy.
The scorching heat is forecast to intensify. “Maximum temperatures are very likely to rise gradually by 2-4°C over major parts of northwest India in the next three to four days.
They are likely to remain above normal by 2-3°C over some parts of south peninsula in the next three days. No significant change in maximum temperatures is likely over rest of the country in the next two to three days,” said IMD’s latest weather bulletin.
The only good news is that India’s 91large water reservoirs are at a level higher than normal, according to the Central Water Commission. On May 30, these reservoirs had 31.65 billion cubic metres of water, which is about 20% of total capacity, but higher than last year’s 27.78 billion cubic metres. “Thus, the live storage available in 91reservoirs as per May 30, 2019 Bulletin is 114% of the live storage of corresponding period of last year and 103% of storage of average of last ten years,” the Central Water Commission said.
The reservoirs in western India, however, are drained out to hold barely 11% of their capacity, down from 15% at this time last year and an average of 19% over a decade.