The Meteorological Department has forecast a normal monsoon for this year,predicting 98 per cent of the rainfall that is generally expected in the four-month season beginning June.
This is the fourth consecutive year when the department has forecast normal rainfall,though the actual rainfall amount at the end of the season has deviated significantly from that predicted during the month of April.
The Met department said maximum probability this year was that rainfall would be 98 per cent of normal. The normal rainfall during the monsoon period is the average of the rainfall in the last 50 years and comes to about 89 cm of rainfall.
Last year,the IMD had predicted 99 per cent rainfall in its first forecast in May but after sharp intra-seasonal and intra-regional variations,the final rainfall amount was 92 per cent of normal.
Todays prediction will be updated with another forecast in May when the IMD will also announce the expected date of arrival of monsoon in Kerala. The IMD said many other international weather agencies,European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasts,UK,Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Climate Centre and National Centre for Environment Prediction,USA,were also predicting normal monsoon for India this year.