The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the Southwest monsoon might weaken during the next one week, after making steady progress over Marathwada and Vidharbha regions in the west, and Odisha and West Bengal in the east.
Till Monday, the Northern Limit of the Southwest monsoon was centered around Ahmednagar, Buldhana and Gondia districts of Maharashtra.
It is likely to advance further to other parts of Odisha, the remaining parts of northwest Bay of Bengal and Northeastern States and some parts of West Bengal and Sikkim over the next 48 hours. But after that, the likelihood of a dry spell exists.
“Thereafter no further advance is likely during the next one week due to probable weakling of monsoon flow,” the IMD said in its daily weather update.
It added that the ongoing heavy rainfall spell is very likely to reduce in intensity today onwards along the west coast.
Delayed onset of monsoon over Central India might delay sowing of pulses, oilseeds, rice and also coarse cereals.
However, how far will it impact final harvest remains to be seen because much would depend on the distribution and spread of the monsoon over rainfed areas.
The Southwest monsoon, the lifeline for millions of farmers across the country, hit the Kerala coast on May 29, three days ahead of its scheduled arrival date.
In its first forecast of monsoon for 2018 released last month, the MET department had predicted a 'normal'monsoon, raising hopes of a recovery in the farm sector which has seen fluctuating growth the past four years.
IMD said rainfall between June and September is expected to be 97 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), with model error of 5 per cent either way.
LPA is the average rainfall across the country between 1951 and 2000, and is estimated to be 89 cm.
IMD, in its region-wise forecast, said North-East and Southern India might get less rain this year, while Central and North India may get normal rains.