NEW DELHI, June 20 (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were 89 percent above average in the week to June 19, weather office sources said on Thursday, a third straight week of torrential downpours that have caused major flooding in north India.
This year's monsoon has drenched the country in record time, almost a month ahead of schedule. Heavy rains in north India have swollen the Ganges, India's longest river, and floods have swept away houses, killing over 80 people and leaving tens of thousands stranded.
For India's farmland, however, above average early rains help moisten the soil, enabling better preparation for seeds and early planting. The June to September monsoon is crucial for the 55 percent of India's farmland without irrigation.
Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; Editing by Jo Winterbottom