India to get normal monsoon after two drought years: IMD

New Delhi, April 12 (IANS) After two drought years, India will get more-than-normal monsoon rains in 2016 with a probability of 94 percent, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in its first forecast for the season here on Tuesday.

“The year 2015 had 14 percent less-than-normal monsoon, while 2016 will have six percent more than the normal monsoon. After back-to-back drought, we may have good days ahead,” the IMD Director General Laxman Singh Rathore said at a press conference here.

The Met department has predicted that all the four monsoon months from June to September will have more than normal rainfall, which is likely to peak in the later half of the season.

At the same time, it also issued a covert warning of floods, which could occur in case of an excess rainfall.

As per the Met’s prediction, the chances of a normal rainfall during the upcoming monsoon season was 30 percent, for above-normal it was 34 percent and for excess, 30 percent. On the flip side, the chances of below-normal rain was just five percent, and for deficient rain barely one percent.

Private sector weather forecaster Skymet has also predicted India’s monsoon rainfall during the upcoming season to be above average.

The markets appear to have sensed the positive outcomes.

The sensitive index (Sensex) of the BSE shot up as soon as predictions came about the monsoon, ending on Tuesday with a gain of 123.43 points, or 0.49 percent. on Monday, it had gained 348.32 points or 1.41 percent.

The annual weather phenomenon of monsoon accounts for as much as 75 percent of India’s rains and over a half the agriculture sector’s water needs. It is also singularly responsible for refilling the reservoirs, so crucial for our daily dose of water.

India receives annual rainfall of around 4,000 billion cubic metres, of which three-fourth comes in the four-and-a-half months of south-west monsoon. Of this, only 1,100 billion cubic metres is utilised. The rest flows away.

“The monsoon is likely to stay between 104 percent to 110 percent of the normal, and it is likely to have fair distribution across all parts of the country,” Rathore said, adding the northeast and eastern coastal regions were likely to have slightly deficient rainfall.

Rathore also cautioned that more precise data can only come two weeks prior to onset of monsoon.

“In any case we keep an error of a plus-minus five percent. So there is a possibility of excess monsoon also. When we have more than normal monsoon, possibility of natural calamities like floods exceeds and such a situation can’t be ruled out this year,” Rathore said.

He said regions like some areas of Marathwada (region comprising south central Maharashtra) and Bundelkhand (which covers north-central Madhya Pradesh) were hit by a severe drought in the past harvesting season. This year, they are likely to have an ample monsoon.

“For the last 31 years years we have had deficient rainfall. But there are better days ahead,” Rathore said, while not ruling out that weather conditions emanating from India’s west and other climatic conditions outside the Indian peninsula may also impact on the actual rainfall.

Specifying the reasons for deficit monsoons all these years, IMD said that analysis of data suggests that El Nino conditions (irregularly occurring and complex series of climatic changes) over equatorial Pacific Ocean kept the rainfall below normal in Indian peninsula.

Thus, El Nino conditions that peaked already in last December and have been on weakening track since then are the primary reason for the likely increase in the South-west monsoon.

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