This year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) had forecast an early monsoon onset for the South Indian state of Kerala. And while it didn’t quite arrive on the expected date, it still came three days before time, on May 29. But this time, the monsoon’s opening stint in Kerala will be unimpressionable if the IMD’s predictions are anything to go by.
Over the last few years, Kerala has witnessed a negative trend in terms of monsoon rainfall in the months of June and July, with rainfall activity picking up in August and September. Earlier, June and July would collectively receive about 65 cm of rain, but this number has steadily decreased over the years. But the increasing trend in the August-September precipitation has kept the overall rainfall activity stable.
As per meteorological experts, this year will be no exception. In fact, Kerala is looking at what may be its highest rainfall deficit in four years at the beginning of this monsoon season.
Between June 1 and 12 this year, Kerala has seen just 92 mm of rainfall, which is 59% lesser than its average of 225 mm for the period.
All 14 districts of Kerala have witnessed extremely poor rainfall in this time frame. The districts have been grouped into three parts — North Kerala (including Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode), Central Kerala (Idukki, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Malappuram, Palakkad) and South Kerala (Alappuzha, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Thiruvananthapuram) — and at least one district in each of these parts has observed a large deficiency in rainfall (over 60% less than normal).
In fact, the long-range forecasts by climate models indicate that the monsoon performance in Kerala will remain poor throughout June, with an expected deficiency of 88% from the normal (65 cm). Rains may not pick up even in July, experts have suggested.
Meanwhile, Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, IMD director general of meteorology, has said that “even though there is a forecast of below-normal rainfall, it is mostly in the coastal regions and plains. It is not much so in the Western Ghats region. That means all districts may not be rainfall deficient”.
Despite the expected lull, spells of intense rains will continue to lash the state. Heavy showers were observed in Kerala on Sunday (June 12), and more isolated heavy downpours have been forecast across the state from June 15-18.
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