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Rain shortfall can be covered in July and August: Met

Sunday, 29 June 2014 - 6:55am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

At least 91 % of India this June has had deficient or scanty monsoon rainfall this year but Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is hopeful for its revival beginning July.

IMD, however, admits the condition is bad with monsoon deficient by 42% and delayed by at least a week but not as bad as it was in 2009 when deficiency had monsoon touched 54%.

"Monsoon is delayed by a week in states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and even Uttarakhand. But it is expected to progress further by beginning of July (July 1-Tuesday)," IMD's Scientist BP Yadav, who is with the National Weather Forecasting Centre, told dna.

He, however, refused to call the present condition of monsoon a "failure or drought".

"Absolutely not … It is not monsoon failure but only deficiency. We are expecting good rains in July and August and we expect the deficiency to be largely covered during that time," said Yadav.

"Monsoon's strength is improving … Bay of Bengal branch is getting active. We are hoping for revival from July starting," Yadav added.

Asked about the deficiency of monsoon till now, he further explained that "every monsoon is a different monsoon and two weeks is too early to decide the overall condition. There have been many years when rain in July has been much less than what we have this till now year."

According to data of Hydromet division (that maintains data related to rainfall) of the IMD, June 2014 has seen 42% deficiency in the monsoon so far compared to 23% in 2012, 11% in 2010 and 54% in 2009. However, monsoon had arrived earlier than usual in 2013 when it was 37% more than normal in June and in 2011 also it was 11% more than normal.

Against the normal of 139.9 mm rainfall this year, India as a whole has only got 80.8 mm of rainfall. In June 2013, India received 216.3 mm rainfall compared to normal rainfall of 163.5 mm.

Another senior IMD official said condition is bad but it still cannot be declared a drought. "Drought can only be declared after analysing the rainfall of four months – June to September. It is too early to call it failure or drought," said the senior IMD official.

D Sivananda Pai, who is head of IMD's Long Range Forecasting Division in Pune, explained that a wet May is one of the probable reasons behind monsoon's delay.

"In May, we had lot of western disturbances activity in north and due to rainfall there was decreased heating of the land … which in turn delayed progress of monsoon. This present phase is what we call intra-season variability which continues for 10-15 days and then the wet phase comes. Thus we expect revival of monsoon by first week of July," Pai said.

Delay in monsoon is also giving jitters to government who is preparing contingency plans to tackle its adverse impact on agriculture if monsoon does not revive in coming days.

Agriculture expert Devinder Sharma said June is almost over but more important is July. "They (Met department) is saying we will have rains in first week of July. If that happens then much of agriculture loss can be salvaged but the question is whether that will happen or not. But if it gets further delayed beyond 10th July then we would have a serious problem. If we cross that limit then we will be into serious trouble especially the Kharif crops," Sharma told dna.

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