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Monsoon arrives in Kerala, most parts of northeast

According to the agriculture ministry, 51% of India’s farmed area, accounting for 40% of production, is rain-fed, making monsoon critical for the country’s economy

Monsoon, the lifeblood of India’s economy, arrived in Kerala two days ahead of its normal date simultaneously with most parts of northeast India on Thursday with the India Metrological Department (IMD) saying all onset criteria were met in the southern state over the last two days. The monsoon last year arrived in Kerala seven days after it normally does.

The monsoon onset in Kerala is declared on the second day if at least 60% of 14 stations — Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Allapuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudulu and Mangalore —report rainfall of 2.5mm or more for two consecutive days after May 10 provided the wind pattern is south-westerly and Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) is low. OLR is the total radiation going to space emitted by the atmosphere or the extent of cloudiness.

June 1 is the normal date for monsoon onset in Kerala. The monsoon later advances northwards, usually in surges, and covers the entire country around July 15. 

Monsoon normally advances over northeast India around June 5. It advances over northeast India simultaneously with Kerala when the Bay of Bengal arm of the monsoon is active.

“The Bay of Bengal arm of [the] monsoon is very active due to severe cyclone Remal which has pulled the monsoon flow over the region,” said IMD director general M Mohapatra. “There has been extremely heavy rainfall in northeastern states during the past two days.” 

The advance of the southwest monsoon over the Indian mainland is marked by monsoon onset over Kerala. It is an important indicator characterising the transition from a hot and dry season to a rainy season. 

Monsoon marks a relief from scorching summer temperatures. According to the agriculture ministry, 51% of India’s farmed area, accounting for 40% of production, is rain-fed, making monsoon critical.

With 47% of the country’s population dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, a bountiful monsoon has a direct correlation with a healthy rural economy.

Monsoon rainfall over the country between June to September is likely to be “above normal” at 106% of the long-period average with a model error of ± 5%, IMD said in its long-range forecast on April 15.



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