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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Explained: Why is rain in January unusual for Maharashtra, and how will it affect standing crops?

Officials at Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Mumbai, called the rainfall at this time of the year as uncommon, particularly for Mumbai. “The rainfall is mainly associated with the easterly winds,” said an official from RMC.

Written by Anjali Marar , Edited by Explained Desk | Updated: January 11, 2021 7:33:29 am
Vegetable and fruit crops could suffer in their growth stages as the moisture can favour pests and similar attacks.

Several parts of Maharashtra received moderate rainfall in the first week of January. The minimum temperatures in most parts of the state (barring Konkan) during this month hovers between 7 – 13 degrees.

Officials at Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC), Mumbai, called the rainfall at this time of the year as uncommon, particularly for Mumbai. “The rainfall is mainly associated with the easterly winds,” said an official from RMC.

An active easterly wind means that there is abundant moisture brought-in over the land from the Bay of Bengal, offering favourable conditions for cloud formation that triggers thunderstorms. As a result, the minimum temperatures across the state have jumped significantly above normal.

How common is rainfall over Pune and Maharashtra in January?

Normally, Pune and rest of Maharashtra record rainfall during the Southwest monsoon season – June to September. During the monsoon withdrawal in October, and on some rare occasions in November, it experiences thunderstorms. This means, the currently prevailing cloudy sky conditions and rains are both unusual and untimely.

Decadal rainfall data maintained by the India Meteorological Department (IMD),Pune, suggests that between 2010 and 2021, Pune city has recorded rainfall (less than 1mm) in January only thrice.

Even though insignificant in quantum, the city has recorded rainfall in January during 2010 (0.7mm) , 2014 (0.7mm) and 2021 (3.6mm). Except for 2021, Mumbai, Satara and Mahabaleshwar have never experienced a rainy January in the last one decade.

How will the present weather affect crops?

The prevailing weather is harmful for standing crops, especially fruits like grapes and strawberries, which are set to hit markets in less than two months from now.

Many crops have reached their flowering and tillering stage, a time when the plants need adequate sunlight.

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The agri-meteorologists have advised the farmers against undertaking any irrigation during the next two days, given the rainy conditions and moisture prevalent in the atmosphere.

Vegetable and fruit crops could suffer in their growth stages as the moisture can favour pests and similar attacks.

When will the cold conditions return?

According to the Extended Range Predictions of the IMD, the dominance of the easterly winds will remain for another week. Though its maximum impact in the form of heavy rain will be felt over parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and the southern peninsular regions, Maharashtra will remain under its influence.

As a result, the minimum temperatures will continue to remain above normal and the trend will change after January 14. Meanwhile, the day temperatures would remain normal over the State, IMD officials said.

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