The southwest monsoon continues to be weak in Kerala, with all 14 districts of the state reporting deficient rainfall. If there is no improvement in the volume of rainfall in the coming months, the state could well be staring at drought conditions.
According to latest statistics of the Meteorological Department station in Thiruvananthapuram, the state, as a whole, received 365.9 mm average rainfall, against a normal of 697.8 mm – a deficiency of 48% between June 1 and July 2. The hilly district of Wayanad in north Kerala reported the highest deficiency – 65 per cent – with 262.7 mm rainfall against a normal of 748.8 mm. The Lakshwadeep islands also recorded a deficiency of 30 per cent from normal rainfall.
“In the Kerala context, the southwesterly winds bring most of the rainfall. There has not been an adequate strengthening of the winds in the last one month. When there’s a weakening of the easterly winds in the southern hemisphere, the monsoon currents also weaken considerably,” said a top IMD official.
He continued, “Also, this is a period of a weak El Nino. In the long-range forecast in April, we had pointed out that the period of the southwest monsoon from June to September would coincide with the effect of a weak El Nino. So that’s also a major reason for the deficiency in rainfall.” El Nino is a phenomenon when sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean rise to above-normal levels in a period of time.
The repercussions of a weak monsoon are felt in Kerala’s major reservoirs. According to data from the Central Water Commission (CWC) as of June 27, the state’s reservoirs reported 47 per cent deficiency from normal storage.
At present, a low-pressure area formed over the northeast Bay of Bengal could concentrate into a depression in the next 48 hours, the IMD predicted. As it continues to move westwards, more states in the direction such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Vidarbha and eastern parts of Madhya Pradesh will receive widespread rainfall. The city of Mumbai is predicted to receive heavy rainfall till July 5.