After much anticipation, the monsoon rains have finally hit the southern Kerala coast early on Tuesday morning. The state has been witnessing heavy showers in the last few days but the official arrival of the annual monsoon was confirmed only today.
Confirming its arrival, Director General of the India Meteorological Department K J Ramesh told news agency PTI that monsoon has also hit the North East. He said the advancement of the monsoon was aided by Cyclone Mora.
The Indian Meteorological Department had predicted an early onset of Monsoons this year. As against the normal date of June 1, the rains have hit the Kerala coast two days in advance. Senior officials of the IMD said they will soon release an official statement. Fears of El Nino’s revival had hovered ahead of the arrival of the monsoon, but the IMD negated the possibility.
The mood in the financial markets improved after IMD predicted normal rainfall for this year. However, the IMD is yet to issue the first advisory to farmers ahead of the sowing season but have issued advisories for land preparations.
The IMD declares the arrival of monsoon only after certain parameters are met. Officials at the meteorological department check for the consistency of rainfall over a defined geography, its intensity, and wind speed.
Andaman and Nicobar islands, which are usually the first to receive the monsoon rains, received rainfall six days ahead of schedule earlier this month.
On April 18, the IMD forecast for this year’s monsoon rains was pegged at 96 percent of the 50-year average of 89 cm. However, the IMD cheif revised its forecast saying that the country is likely to receive higher rainfall as concerns over El Nino affecting the monsoon have eased.
El Nino, a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that typically occurs every few years and was linked to crop damage, fires and flash floods, faded in 2016. The southwest monsoon delivers about 70 percent of India’s annual rainfall.