Arriving early: Monsoon sets in over Kerala and Northeast, says IMD | India News

Rain, Rainfall, monsoon

Kochi: Pedestrians hold umbrellas as they cross a street amid rains, in Kochi, Wednesday, May 29, 2024. India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted very heavy rainfall in five districts of Kerala in the coming hours. (Photo: PTI)

The southwest monsoon on Thursday set in over the Kerala coast and parts of the Northeast earlier than the forecast, marking the start of its four-month journey over India.

The normal monsoon onset date for Kerala is June 1 and for Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam is June 5.

“Southwest monsoon has set in over Kerala and advanced into most parts of northeast India today, May 30, 2024,” the India Meteorological Department said.

The rains, which are critical for the nation’s economy as it provides more than 70% of India’s annual precipitation, were spurred by cyclone Remal that struck the country’s Eastern coast last week.

An early and timely onset of monsoon is also a good sign for 2024 kharif crop production, but is no guarantee how the progress from now onwards could be.

From 1971 to 2024, the earliest the monsoons have arrived over Kerala before today was May 18 (1990), May 22 (1999) and May 23 in 1974 and 2009.

Meteorologists meanwhile said that the rains after arriving over Kerala will quickly cover neighbouring Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, but then might slacken a bit, which could delay its arrival over the Northwest India, which is reeling under severe heat wave since the last few days.

Weather scientists said that the cyclone Remal, that battered West Bengal and Bangladesh on Sunday, had pulled the monsoonal flow to the Bay of Bengal, which could be one of the reasons for early onset over the Northeast.

On May 15, the weather office had announced the onset of monsoon over Kerala by May 31.

Kerala has been receiving heavy rains for the past few days resulting in a surplus May rainfall, the weather office data showed.

The IMD declares the onset of monsoon over 14 stations in Kerala and neighbouring areas any time after May 10 when they receive 2.5 mm or more rainfall for two consecutive days, the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) is low, and the direction of the winds is southwesterly.

Earlier this month, the met department had said that India is likely to receive an average amount of rain in June, although maximum temperatures in the month are likely to remain above normal.

In 2024, the full season monsoon rains are expected to be 106% of the long-term average.

The IMD defines average or normal rainfall as between 96% and 104% of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the four-month season.

Below-average rains in 2023 depleted reservoir levels and hit food production. The government responded by imposing curbs on exports of rice, wheat, sugar and onions.

Resuming exports depends on how quickly production recovers in 2024, which is not possible without good monsoon rainfall.

India is the world’s second-largest producer of rice, wheat and sugar.

Plentiful rains could also help bring down food inflation, which has remained above the central bank’s comfort level.

First Published: May 30 2024 | 5:55 PM IST

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