An erratic monsoon, which left the country 22 per cent short of normal seasonal rainfall and caused concern about the kharif harvest, has finally begun to withdraw, almost three weeks later than normal.
It withdrew from many parts of west Rajasthan today and is likely to recede further from some more parts of north-west India in the next three-four days.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the withdrawal line today passed through Ganganagar, Churu, Jodhpur and Barmer in Rajasthan. However, many other parts of the country will still continue to get rain. The IMD has predicted scattered rainfall in north-eastern states and widespread showers in Maharashtra and peninsular India in the next few days.
The southwest monsoon normally begins withdrawing from western Rajasthan from September 1. The monsoon season ends on September 30, though withdrawal from the whole country can often linger up to the beginning of October.
The total monsoon rainfall this year till September 23 was estimated by the IMD at 66.83 cm, about 22 per cent below the normal level of 85.87 cm for the period. The maximum deficiency is in the north-west (34 per cent), followed by the north-east (25 per cent), central India (19 per cent) and southern peninsula (8 per cent).
Only two of the 36 meteorological sub-divisions have got excess rainfall (over 20 per cent above normal) while 12 have recorded normal rainfall. As many 22 sub-divisions have remained rain deficient.
Of the country’s 500 odd meteorological districts, 44 per cent have recorded normal and above normal rainfall, while the rest 56 per cent have remained rain-deficient.
The two main prolonged dry spells during this monsoon season were from the second to the fourth week of June and again from the end of July till August 12.
September, when the monsoon should normally begin to recede, witnessed fresh spurt in rain that benefited the standing kharif crops and also raised hopes about timely sowing of rabi crops.