Monsoon onset over Kerala likely by May 31: IMD

The weather office has forecast normal rainfall for the second consecutive year.

Updated: May 15, 2011, 11:23 AM IST

New Delhi: India`s annual monsoon rains are
likely to keep their date with Kerala bringing showers to the
mainland by May 31, which has raised hopes for a normal
season.

The weather office has forecast normal rainfall for the
second consecutive year and farmers are looking forward for a
steady progress of the season that could help them have a
bumper crop.

The date of onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala is
likely to be on May 31, the India Meteorological Department
has announced.

Weather scientists have been using an indigenously
developed statistical model since 2005 for issuing operational
forecasts for the monsoon onset over Kerala. The model has an
error of plus or minus four days.

They believe that the monsoon onset over Kerala could be
earlier than May 31. Usually, south-west monsoon sets in over
Andaman Sea by May 15. This has not been the case this year.

However, IMD said that past data suggest absence of any
one-to-one association between the date of monsoon advance
over Andaman Sea and the date of onset over Kerala.

On April 19, IMD had forecast normal monsoon with the
country receiving 98 per cent rainfall of the long period
average (LPA). The LPA is the average rainfall over the past
50 years, which is 89 cm.

After the 2009 drought, the country witnessed a record
foodgrain produce of over 235.88 million tonnes last year when
monsoon was normal.

Economists believe that India can increase its foodgrain
production by seven to eight million tonnes if the monsoon
rains are normal.

According to their estimates rice output could go up to
100 million tonnes in 2011-12 crop year from 94 million tonnes
the previous year.

PTI