Rainfall reaches 107%, Met fears ‘excess’ deluge

Economy


At 107%, the total rainfall this year has recorded the highest departure from its average in a decade and, with more than two weeks to go before the monsoon starts receding, it might turn excess, said the weatherman.

“As on September 26, countrywide rainfall figure is 107%, which is ‘above normal rainfall’ category,” tweeted KS Hosalikar, deputy director-general of meteorology at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Mumbai. As the rainfall is likely to increase further, he wondered if it would hit the ‘excess’ category. More than 110% of long period average (LPA) is called excess rainfall.

Monsoon rainfall turned positive this year after staying below-normal for five years in a row.

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According to its normal schedule, the South-West monsoon begins withdrawal from North-West Rajasthan from September 1 and leaves the country by September 30. This year, the withdrawal will be delayed by more than a month.

“As per the model guidance, changeover of atmospheric circulation pattern as well as reduction in the moisture content are likely only after October 6. Thus, the withdrawal of South-West monsoon from West Rajasthan is likely to be delayed further and could commence only in the second week of October,” IMD has forecast.

From June 1 to September 27, the country received an actual rainfall of 931.6 mm – a 7% rise from the normal of 869.4 mm for this period.

The rainfall is expected to be heavy to very heavy over Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, the Met Office said.

A cyclonic circulation persists over Saurashtra and adjoining areas of North-East Arabian Sea, which may form a low-pressure area by Saturday and turn more intense in the next 48 hours. Another cyclonic circulation lies over South-West Uttar Pradesh and neighbourhood. Another low-pressure area is likely over the North Bay of Bengal by Saturday, which may become more marked subsequently.

“Moisture incursion and strong convergence in the easterly wind regime is likely to cause fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy with extremely heavy falls likely over Bihar during next three days and heavy to very heavy falls over Sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh in the next 3-4 days,” the IMD said.

Although the average rainfall figures may help the ensuing rabi crop, the geographical distribution of rainfall has been skewed.

According to IMD data, 11 sub-divisions, covering a fourth of India, received excess rainfall, while a fifth of the country’s area had deficient rainfall, and 18 sub-divisions, constituting 55% of the land, received normal rainfall.

Erratic, spatial and temporal spread of rainfall affects khairf foodgrains. The first-advance estimate has already lowered this year’s yield to 140.57 million tonnes (MT) from 141.71 MT last year.

“Lower-than-LPA rainfall in major paddy-growing regions like Gangetic West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar and East Uttar Pradesh is likely to have an adverse impact on paddy production. As on 19 September 2019, paddy area under cultivation was 5.25% lower than 2018. In case of pulses and sugarcane, the area under cultivation was 2.41% and 3.06% lower than 2018, respectively,” India Ratings said in a statement.



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