Monsoon may arrive in 24 hours - weather official

NEW DELHI Thu Jun 5, 2014 2:13pm IST

1 of 2. Pre-monsoon clouds gather above Kochi June 5, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Sivaram V

Related Topics

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's southern coast could witness the arrival of this year's monsoon in the next day or so after sporadic rains in recent days heralded the arrival of the wet season that is crucial to farmers in Asia's third-largest economy.

"Conditions have turned favourable for the monsoon onset in about 24 hours," an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) told Reuters on Thursday.

In a typical year, the monsoon begins on or around June 1 but government forecasters had forecast a five-day delay and below-average rainfall in this year's wet season.

Rains are vital to rejuvenate an economy battling its longest economic slowdown since the 1980s and to cool inflation that has averaged nearly 10 percent for the past two years.

The farm sector accounts for 14 percent of India's nearly $2 trillion economy, with two-thirds of its 1.2 billion population living in rural areas.

Half of India's farmland still lacks access to irrigation. The country plans to expand irrigation coverage by at least a tenth by 2017 to cut its dependence on the seasonal rains.

Experts said the spread of rainfall near the southern coast does not qualify for a formal announcement of the monsoon onset.

Last month, the IMD predicted a delayed onset for this year's monsoon over the Kerala coast around June 5, give or take four days."IMD considers factors such as wind speed, cloud formation with rainfall quantum before announcing the onset of monsoon," said D.R. Sikka, former director of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology.

Heavy rainfall has already reached Sri Lanka, with flooding reported earlier this week in capital Colombo.

Usually, it takes around 24-48 hours for the monsoon rains to arrive on the south of coastal Kerala after crossing northern tip of Sri Lanka. Sowing operations in rice, pulses and cotton have already started in many growing areas of Northwest and Southern India, taking advantage of pre-monsoon showers.

Farmers have taken notice of the farm ministry's advisory to sow summer crops early this year as the second half of the four-month rainy season could be witness drier weather due to the El Nino weather pattern.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology in its latest updatesaid there is high chance of El Nino weather event this year. ElNino has the potential to cause severe droughts in Asia Pacific including India.

(Editing by Douglas Busvine and Muralikumar Anantharaman)

FILED UNDER:
  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Tobacco Control

Tobacco Control

India moves toward ban on loose cigarettes to deter smoking   Full Article 

Modi at SAARC

Modi at SAARC

Modi gives Buddha a miss as SAARC leaders flock to Nepal.  Full Article 

Reuters Insight

Reuters Insight

In Modi’s India, green shoots of reform from Rajasthan.  Full Article 

Investing in ETFs

Investing in ETFs

U.S. investors elevate India over other emerging markets  Full Article 

J&K Elections

J&K Elections

Kashmiris turn out to vote as BJP bids for power  Full Article 

Trade Talks

Trade Talks

India, U.S. hold first trade dialogue in four years  Full Article 

Modi's Wife

Modi's Wife

Modi's estranged wife unhappy over round-the-clock security  Full Article 

Global Economy

Global Economy

OECD sees gradual world recovery, urges ECB to do more  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage