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Monsoon advances into Kerala, Tamil Nadu

Likely to remain weak during June-July and pick up pace in next 2 months, says IMD.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Jun 10, 2019, 08.30 AM IST
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Monsoon catches up in Kerala; heavy to very heavy rainfall expected
Monsoon catches up in Kerala; heavy to very heavy rainfall expected
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NEW DELHI: The monsoon, which hit Kerala on Saturday after a week’s delay, has advanced into more areas in the state, southern Tamil Nadu and Lakshadweep among other regions, including the southern Arabian Sea. Rain is likely to be lower than average across the country in June and July before strengthening in the final two months of the season, an official said, underscoring worries about rural weakness amid sluggish overall growth.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said conditions are turning favourable for rain in parts of the northeast including Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura over the next 48 hours.

“The normal onset date of monsoon is June 1. After a delayed start, the monsoon is likely to remain weak during June-July. It will, however, pick up pace during August-September,” said a senior Met department official.

A late monsoon with 45% deficient rainfall threatens agricultural activity in India, which has more than 70% of farm area fed by rains. Pre-monsoon showers in the March-May period have been 25% deficient, delaying cultivation on arable land.

The live storage of water in 91 reservoirs as of June 6 was 114% of the same period last year, which is not very encouraging. “The live storage is 30.461 BCM (billion cubic metres), which is 20% of the total live storage capacity of these reservoirs, putting pressure on drinking water and irrigation needs,” said an official of the Central Water Commission, which keeps tabs on storage levels.

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Catalyst for Rural Economy
The IMD had said earlier that a weak El Niño effect may have some impact during the initial months, fading out gradually and giving way to a normal monsoon season.

“The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is turning from neutral to positive. This will make up for the rain deficit due to weak El Niño effect,” the official said.

A positive IOD signifies a warmer-than-normal western Indian Ocean, which brings high precipitation across India, while the opposite means drier weather.

The monsoon is vital for agriculture in India and is a key catalyst for the rural economy, fuelling the sale of fertiliser, tractors, two-wheelers and cars, which has a direct and indirect impact on the overall economy.

“Rains are likely to reach the fertile lands of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana during the last week or first week of July. Farmers have started preparing their fields for cultivation,” said a senior agriculture department official.

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