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Monsoon advances with little help from Laila

Aided by cyclone Laila, southwest monsoon on Tuesday moved a little further in the Bay of Bengal covering all the islands in the Andaman archipelago.

New Delhi: Aided by cyclone Laila, southwest
monsoon on Tuesday moved a little further in the Bay of Bengal
covering all the islands in the Andaman archipelago.

The weatherman said that formation of a cyclonic storm
over southwest Bay of Bengal and strengthening of westerly
winds in the region were favourable conditions for the forward
march of monsoon, that powers the country`s trillion-dollar

However, scientists were keenly tracking the movement of
cyclone Laila as a similar weather system -- cyclone Aila --
had disrupted the monsoon build up last year.

"Will Laila be another Aila?" is the question bothering
weather scientists.

A section of meteorologists believe that cyclone Laila may
not affect the onset of monsoon over Kerala as predictions
suggest that the inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ),
considered as the birth place of low pressure systems, in the
Arabian Sea as also the Bay of Bengal may remain active even
after the weakening of the cyclone.

An active ITCZ raises the hope for possible formation of
an onset vortex like low pressure system over the Arabian Sea
subsequent to the weakening of cyclone.

Scientists believe that the monsoon flow over the Arabian
Sea is still in the process of building and hence if the
cyclone crosses the eastern coast May 21, there is still
enough time available for monsoon to evolve and cause onset
over Kerala by May 30 as predicted by IMD.

"Model predictions suggest that even after weakening of
the present cyclone, the strength of the south-westerly flow
of the monsoon over the Bay of Bengal remains intact which
would help building of flow over the Arabian Sea
subsequently," they said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) had yesterday
announced the onset of monsoon over Andaman and Nicobar
Islands, a development that set the stage for the four-month
annual rainfall season after a year of severe drought.

The IMD last month forecast a normal rainfall for this
year with a precipitation of 98 per cent of the Long Period
Average (LPA), subject to a model error of plus or minus five
per cent for the entire season (from June to September).

Last year, the weather office had forecast a rainfall of
96 per cent plus or minus five per cent in April and then fine
tuned it to 93 per cent plus or minus four per cent. But, the
country received a rainfall of 77 per cent of the LPA only for
the season.

The normal monsoon forecast is expected to bring cheers to
over 235 million farmers who had faced drought last year due
to failed monsoon.

A good monsoon could help in sowing of rice, sugarcane,
soyabean and corn and lead to a rebound in the agricultural


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