The South-West monsoon is likely to keep its date with Kerala, though with a slight delay. The monsoon winds did not hit the southern state on May 31, as was forecast by the India Meteorology Department (IMD), and is now likely to arrive by June 3.
Monsoon’s normal arrival date in Kerala is June 1. However, the IMD had stated on May 14 that it will reach Kerala this time on May 31, a day ahead, with a possible error margin of plus/minus four days. Therefore, it will be inappropriate to say that monsoon has got delayed.
The IMD’s long forecast this time is a normal monsoon, which is great news for the country’s agriculture sector which relies heavily on the south-west winds for feeding its fields all through the year.
The monsoon has got slightly delayed because a cyclonic circulation along the Karnataka coast is halting its progress, stated the IMD.
“The southwesterly winds could strengthen further gradually from June 1, resulting in likely enhancement in rainfall activity over Kerala. Hence the monsoon onset over Kerala is likely to take place around June 3,” the IMD director general M Mohapatra was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
How to distinguish between monsoon rains and other rains?
Kerala has been receiving heavy rains intermittently since Cyclone Tauktae hit the west coast in the mid of May and later Cyclone Yaas hit Odisha and Bengal last week. However, these rains do not qualify as monsoon rains. It can at best be called pre-monsoon rains.
IMD director general M Mohapatra said that for the rains to be called monsoon rains, at least 60% of the weather stations at Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudlu and Mangalore should report 2.5 mm or more rainfall for two days in a row. In addition, the wind speed, depth of westerlies and the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) have to meet the set standards.
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Therefore, the current rains in Kerala cannot be termed monsoon rains because the depth of the westerlies is not sufficient and the rainfall parameters are inadequate.
Impact of cyclones Tauktae and Yaas on monsoon, if any
There is no clear view among the scientific community so far about the likely impact of the two recent cyclones (Tauktae and Yaas) on monsoon winds this year. Mahesh Palawat, Vice-President Skymet Weather, a private organisation, said on May 26: “Yaas has actually helped pull the monsoon current head in the Arabian Sea. There was heavy to very heavy rain reported in many parts of Kerala in the last 24 hours so we are expecting monsoon to arrive early.”
Around the same time, IMD said with caution that monsoon is likely to be normal this time, but “can’t say anything immediately”. “Monsoon is likely to be on time. But we still have a few days, so we can’t say anything immediately. Let’s watch how conditions become favourable for its onset,” IMD director general M Mohapatra had said on May 27.
Present status of monsoon and rains in the north-east
As on Monday (May 31), the northern limit of Southwest Monsoon runs through east-central and southwest Bay of Bengal and off the Cape Comorin. The IMD says the conditions are likely to become favourable for the onset of Southwest Monsoon over Kerala around June 3.
The northeastern states of Assam, Sikkim and Meghalaya are likely to get widespread rain from Monday to Friday because of a cyclonic circulation over Bihar and adjoining areas. Heavy to very heavy rains are likely at isolated places from Tuesday in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura. The IMD has issued an ‘orange’ alert for Assam and Meghalaya for Monday and Tuesday, which means the people in these states need to ‘be prepared’ for adverse weather conditions.
Rains in Kerala, coastal Karnataka for the next 5 days
For Kerala, a cyclonic circulation lies over the east-central Arabian Sea off the Karnataka coast will cause widespread rain starting Tuesday. Kerala is likely to get heavy rain at isolated places over the next five days while coastal Karnataka will get rains from Tuesday (June 1) and south interior Karnataka will get rains from Wednesday onwards.
Elsewhere in India…
Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and Palghar in Maharashtra got heavy rainfall on Monday morning.
The IMD has forecast a partly cloudy sky with the possibility of light to intense spells of rain.
The western disturbance over north Pakistan and adjoining areas could bring widespread rain with thunderstorms in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand on Monday and Tuesday.
As a result of this rainfall activity, minimum temperatures have dropped slightly in Bihar, east Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, interior Maharashtra, Telangana and adjoining areas.
However, maximum temperatures are likely to remain above 40°C in Rajasthan, Gujarat and isolated isolated places of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.