Just 2 weeks before rains arrive in Kerala

New Delhi: The southwest monsoon is likely to set over Kerala two days earlier than usual, on May 30, with a model error of four days, the India Meteorological Department said in a release on Tuesday.

The normal date for monsoon onset over Kerala is Jun 1. The monsoon current reached Andaman Sea on May 14 this year, six days ahead of usual, and has already covered parts of southeast Bay of Bengal, Nicobar Islands, entire south Andaman Sea and parts of north Andaman Sea.

Conditions are favourable for further advance of the current to more parts of southwest Bay of Bengal, remaining parts of Andaman Sea and Andaman and Nicobar Islands over the next 48 hours, the weather bureau said.

Last year, the monsoon had set in over the Andaman Sea on May 18, and over Kerala coast on June 8.

It usually takes 10 days for the current to reach the Indian coastline after onset over the Andaman Sea.

Past data suggests that there is no correlation between the onset date of monsoon current over the Andaman Sea with onset over Kerala and overall June-September rains, IMD said.

In April, IMD had forecast Jun-Sep monsoon rains over the country at 96% of long period average. However, IMD Director General K.J. Ramesh last week had said the prospects of normal monsoon rains in India have improved on receding possibility of the emergence of El Nino in the latter half of Jun-Sep monsoon season.

El Nino, an abnormal heating of sea-surface temperature in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, is usually associated with below-normal southwest monsoon rainfall in India.

The country had received 97% monsoon rains in the last season. Southwest monsoon rains, which account for nearly 80% of the country’s annual precipitation, are crucial for agriculture.

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