The south-west monsoon finally set in over the Kerala coast on Saturday, a week after its usual date of onset on June 1. India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said the conditions are ideal for the monsoon to cover the entire state in the next 24-78 hours, after which it will move further into the country.
The IMD had predicted June 6 (with an error margin of plus-minus four days) for the onset of monsoon over the Kerala coast.
The IMD declares the onset based on three major observations, including rainfall received in 14 stations in Kerala, depth of Westerlies (rain-bearing westward winds) and outgoing longwave radiation (OLR outgoing radiomagnetic radiation emitted by earth into space in the form of thermal radiation).
Dr A Kashyapi, head of weather monitoring and air pollution of IMD, said the prevailing conditions are amenable for the progress of the monsoon over the rest of Kerala and parts of Tamil Nadu in the next 48-72 hours. “The northern limit of the monsoon is at present passing over Amini Divi, Kochi and Madurai. A low pressure system is forming over the Arabian Sea, which will help the progress in Konkan Goa and south of Madhya Maharashtra till June 13. Till then these areas will get pre monsoon showers,” he said.
However, the monsoon at present does not have the required strength for progress in the drought-hit Marathwada and Vidarbha regions. IMD officials said the monsoon will reach these parts by the last week of June. The strength of the monsoon is expected to improve once it reaches central India, after which its progress will be normal and the rains will cover the country as per schedule.
In view of the onset, the IMD has issued its first set of sowing advisories for states that have received enough moisture. The weather department has advised sowing of rice in Kerala as well as land preparation for cotton and pulses in Karnataka. In Maharashtra, land preparation has been advised for most crops and farmers have been asked to delay sowing till sufficient soil moisture is available.