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2023 monsoon to be ‘normal; NW India might get ‘below normal’ rains: IMD

June-to-September monsoon rains are expected to be below normal over most parts of northwest India that form the grain bowls of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, said the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Friday.

The rains will be ‘normal’ over all remaining parts of India, including the main rain-fed dependent zones, said IMD in its second forecast for the 2023 southwest monsoon season.

The rains’ impact would be on agriculture as much of northwest India is irrigated, particularly in the major paddy-growing states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh. The IMD reiterated its April forecast of overall monsoon rains being normal at 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA).

The forecast is with a model error of plus and minus four percent. The LPA of June to September rains for the period 1971-2020 is 87 centimeters.

IMD said the probability of normal rainfall during the June-to-September period is 43 per cent, while that of above-normal rainfall is 11 per cent.

The probability of below-normal and deficient rainfall is 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

The IMD also said that southwest monsoon over the ‘monsoon convergence zone’, or the rainfed-regions of India, is expected to be normal at 96-106 per cent of the LPA.

This should come as a relief to policy makers and agriculturists as the region grows bulk of pulses and oilseeds during the kharif season.

“The monsoon will remain normal to above normal over south peninsular India, some areas of East Central India and also North-East India while it might remain below normal over North-West India, adjoining west Central India,” said IMD.

The department said that there is a 90 per cent chance of the El Nino weather pattern developing in the 2023 monsoon season.

For June, the IMD said that rainfall across the country will be ‘below normal’ at 92 per cent of the LPA. The LPA of June month rainfall—the average of rains between 1971 and 2020—is 165.44 millimetres.

The June rains will be below normal over most parts of the country and above normal in southern India.

The IMD said that conditions are becoming favourable for progress of southwest monsoon over the Arabian Sea and it is hopeful that the onset will be as forecasted earlier.

“A cyclone has developed over the Arabian Sea around May 29 that could strengthen monsoon flow,” said IMD. It hoped that onset could even be ahead of its forecast date due to the push from the cyclone. 

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