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A day after the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted a normal monsoon for 2018, private weather forecasting agency Skymet said east and north-east India, along with parts of southern India, might get slightly ‘below normal’ rains in 2018, though the overall picture looks promising.
Agriculturally crucial regions of north and Central India are expected to get ‘normal’ to ‘excess’ rains in 2018, it added. In its monsoon forecast for the country earlier this month, Skymet had predicted ‘normal’ rains on a cumulative basis at 100 per cent of the long-period average. The forecast included an error margin of plus and minus 5 per cent.
For south India comprising of parts of Rayalaseema, south interior Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Skymet sees some poor rainfall this season at 97 per cent of the long-period average.
“Regionally, monsoon forecasts are with an error margin of plus and minus 19 per cent. Even at 97 per cent of long-period average, there is a possibility of rains being ‘below normal,’” G P Sharma, vice-president, metrology, Skymet, told Business Standard. The region records 716 millimeters of rains, accounting for 19 per cent of the country’s total monsoon.
For the agriculturally crucial north-west India, which includes Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, Skymet said the region is expected to get rainfall equivalent of 99 per cent of the long-period average. At 615 millimeters, north Indian states get the least amount of rainfall during monsoon at 17 per cent.
“We expect significant contribution from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, compared to the plains of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi-NCR,” Skymet said. It said there was 60 per cent chances of normal rains in North India and 10 per cent possibility of it being ‘below normal’.
For central India, another agriculturally important region, the monsoon in 2018 would be ‘excess’ at 108 per cent of the long-period average, particularly in north Maharashtra, Konkan, Chhattisgarh and parts of Madhya Pradesh, Skymet said. There is 55 per cent chance of rainfall being normal and just 10 per cent of it being ‘below normal’. East and northeast India contribute the maximum amount to India’s overall rainfall during the monsoon season at 1,438 millimeters, and account for 28 per cent of rainfall. According to Skymet, the region might see slightly below normal rainfall at 95 per cent of long period average.
East India, including Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, could see better rainfall than Assam, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
Overall, according to Skymet, 2018 would the best monsoon in the past five years.