Himachal heading towards huge monsoon deficit

With a current deficit of 34 per cent, Himachal Pradesh is heading for huge rain deficit as the prospect of heavy rains in the region during the next fortnight before the withdrawal of monsoon looked bleak.

Shimla: With a current deficit of 34 per cent, Himachal Pradesh is heading for huge rain deficit as the prospect of heavy rains in the region during the next fortnight before the withdrawal of monsoon looked bleak.

The region had negligible shortfall of eight per cent rainfall during the monsoon last year, but this year the deficit in 79 and 76 per cent in tribal districts of Kinnaur and Lahaul and Spiti while it was 65 per cent in Chamba, 31 in Kangra, 30 in Sirmaur, 22 in Bilaspur, 18 in Kullu, 17 in Solan and 14 in Hamirpur.

The deficit was negligible at 2 per cent at Mandi and 5 per cent in Shimla while Una was the only district to receive one per cent excess rains.

The Director of Shimla MeT office, Manmohan Singh, said that freak rains are likely in the region during the next few days but chances of heavy rains, which could have helped cover up the deficit, are not very bright.

The deficient rains are harmful for maize and rice crops and also vegetable and other cash crops.

The local MeT office has predicted light to moderate rains at isolated places in Shimla, Solan, Sirmaur, Una, Hamirpur, Bilaspur, Kangra, Mandi and Kullu districts during the next three days and light rains or dry weather thereafter and as such rain deficit would be quite high by the end of September when the monsoon would withdraw from the region.

The weakening of monsoon during the month of September is causing worry to farmers in rain-fed areas as the dry spell is considered harmful for maize, paddy and vegetable crops.

Moderate rains occurred at some places in the state during the past 24 hours and Palampur and Sangrah received 30-mm of rains, followed by Hamirpur 25-mm, Baldwara 24-mm, Kasauli 21-mm, Rajgarh 20-mm, Mandi and Pandoh 18-mm, Dharamsala 17-mm, Sarahan 13-mm and Shimla 7-mm.

Maximum day temperatures dropped by one to two degrees in many places, and Bhunter and Una recorded a high of 31.0 deg Celsius, followed by Sundernagar-29.4, Dharamsala-26.8, Solan-26.5, Nahan-25.7, Shimla-21.9 and Kalpa-21.2 degrees Celsius. 

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