June has turned out to be a good opening month for the south-west monsoon. India received 189.5 mm of area-weighted rainfall or 15.8 % more than the ‘normal’ long-period average (LPA) of 163.6 mm for the month.
Just for comparison, rainfall in June last year, at 95.2 mm, was 41.8% below normal. 2014 itself ended up being a drought year, with the four-month monsoon season recording an overall 11.9% rain deficit.
But a great start is no guarantee against drought, as June contributes only 18.4% of the LPA rainfall of 886.9 mm for the entire monsoon season. The bulk of monsoon precipitation happens in July (288.9 mm LPA) and August (261 mm LPA).
In 2002, rainfall was 9.4 % surplus in June, but the season still registered a cumulative 19.2 % deficit. 2004 was similarly a drought year, despite June rainfall being only marginally (0.8 %) below the LPA. As opposed to this, there were years when the monsoon was normal — 2006, 2010 and 2012 — despite a weak start in June.
The hope this time is that there will be no repeat of 2002 and 2004, where the monsoon flattered to deceive.