The prolonged break in the rainy season that has caused widespread concern over the delay in kharif sowing is finally ending with the monsoon likely to advance into Mumbai and adjoining parts of Maharashtra in two or three days.
Conditions are favourable for the monsoon to cover some more parts of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa by around Sunday. However, central India may have to wait for another week or so for rains in the absence of a strong current that can push the monsoon to that region.
After setting in over the Kerala coast on May 26, about a week ahead of the normal date of June 1, the south-west monsoon had stopped advancing on June 7. This was attributed largely to the weakening of the monsoon current owing to the cyclone Aila that cooled the Bay of Bengal and prevented the formation of an atmospheric trough that could pull the monsoon northwards.
The northern limit of the monsoon had consequently been stuck at Ratnagiri, Anantpur, Kalingapattinam, Paradip, Balasore and Gangtok between June 7 and June 19.
Normally, the monsoon covers most parts of the country, barring northwest India, by June 20.
But as a result of the lack of any movement since June 7, the arrival of the monsoon has been delayed this year by about 10 days in Maharashtra, Orissa and north Andhra Pradesh and by about a week in Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, south Madhya Pradesh and south Gujarat.
The normal date for the monsoon to reach Mumbai is June 10 and Delhi June 29.
The cumulative monsoon rainfall in the country till June 17 showed about a 45 per cent deficiency, with actual rainfall at 39.5 mm against the normal 72.5 mm. As many as 28 of the total 36 meteorological subdivisions received deficient or scanty rainfall during this period, adversely affecting sowing of kharif crops, notably pulses and oilseeds. Prices of pulses started rising, owing to production uncertainties.
An update on the monsoon issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) today said conditions have turned favourable for gradual strengthening of the monsoon current, thanks to an increase in the pressure gradient over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. As a result, rainfall will increase along the west coast and the monsoon will advance northwards in two or three days.
The conditions are also favourable for the movement of the monsoon towards more parts of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa.
Many parts of Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Goa have already had widespread showers over the past day or so.