New Delhi: The south-west monsoon is expected to hit the Kerala coast within the next 24 hours, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its weather update on Monday. Activities over the coast are favourable for onset of monsoon within the forecast period, the IMD added.
“We had predicted that the monsoon would arrive on 29 May, so we are expecting that it will reach Kerala within next 24 hours. We have a good rainfall activity along the coast and certain criteria that need to be satisfied for onset of monsoon, they are very close to being satisfied. So within the next 24 hours, an announcement could be made,” said Dr D.S. Pai, head of climate prediction group at IMD.
Private weather forecast firm Skymet, however, claimed that monsoon hit Kerala today. “There are Monsoon-like conditions over Kerala and we can say that the annual rainfall season has arrived,” Skymet CEO Jatin Singh told a news agency.
The south-west monsoon had advanced into South Andaman Sea, some parts of South Bay of Bengal and Nicobar Islands on 25 May, with enhanced cloudiness and rainfall.
According to the IMD monsoon forecast, a low pressure area is developing over east central Bay of Bengal which is gradually moving northwards. There is also an off-shore vortex over Kerala which is also moving northwards. “These developments are likely to further enhance the cross equatorial flow, favouring the advance of south-west monsoon over the mainland,” IMD said.
With monsoon advancing, fairly widespread rainfall is expected over Lakshadweep, Kerala, coastal Karnataka, south-interior Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andaman and Nicobar Islands in next 24 to 48 hours.
In its second long-range forecast on 18 May, IMD had stated that the monsoon would hit the coast on May 29, three days ahead of its normal date. The officials had also highlighted that there could be model error of +/- 4 days.
Following an official announcement regarding onset of the monsoon, IMD would then proceed to forecast the geographical distribution of rainfall, which would precisely determine the likely impact of monsoon across regions.
Since 2014, the onset of monsoon over Kerala has been delayed, except last year when the rains arrived on 29 May. The south-west monsoon accounts for over 70 % rainfall in India and irrigates over half of the total land under cultivation.
According to IMD, India is expected to witness a normal monsoon for the third consecutive time which is 97% of the 50-year average, with a 54 % chance that it would be normal to above normal.