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2023 monsoon to be 'normal'; NW India might get 'below normal' rains: IMD

Normal rainfall probability raised to 43% but June might disappoint


The met department said that there is a 90 per cent chance of the El Nino weather pattern developing in the 2023 monsoon season

Sanjeeb Mukherjee New Delhi

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The India Meteorological Department (IMD) in its second stage forecast released today said that region-wise the June-to-September monsoon rains this year is expected to be below normal over most parts of northwest India, but it could be 'normal' over all remaining parts of India, including the main rain-fed zones.

North-west India includes the grain bowls of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, however, how much will be the impact of low rains on agriculture production remains to be seen as much of northwest India is irrigated.

The IMD reiterated its April forecast of overall monsoon rains being normal at 96 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA).

The forecast is with a model error of plus and minus four percent. The LPA of June to September rains for the period 1971-2020 is 87 centimeters.

IMD also upped the probability of normal rainfall during the June-to-September period to 43 per cent, while that of above-normal rainfall is 11 per cent. In its April forecast, the met department had said that the forecast probability of normal rains was 35 per cent.

The probability of below-normal and deficient rainfall is 25 per cent and 20 per cent, respectively.

The IMD also said that southwest monsoon over the 'monsoon convergence zone', or the rainfed-regions of India, is expected to be normal at 96-106 per cent of the LPA.

This should come as a relief to policy makers and agriculturists as the region grows bulk of pulses and oilseeds during the kharif season.

"Normal to above normal rainfall is likely over the most areas of south peninsular India, some areas of east central India and many areas of northeast and extreme north India. However, normal to below normal rainfall is likely over many areas of northwest India and adjoining west central India, northern parts of the peninsular India and along the foothills of Himalayas," DS Pai, Scientist at the IMD said in a press conference.

The met department said that there is a 90 per cent chance of the El Nino weather pattern developing in the 2023 monsoon season.

For June, the IMD said that rainfall across the country will be 'below normal' at 92 per cent of the LPA. The LPA of June month rainfall—the average of rains between 1971 and 2020—is 165.44 millimeters.

The June rains will be ‘below normal’ over most parts of the country and above normal in southern India and extreme north India and North-west India.

The IMD said that conditions are becoming favorable for progress of southwest monsoon over the Arabian Sea and it is hopeful that the onset could be as forecasted earlier.

"A slightly late onset and below normal rainfall in June 2023 can be mitigated by the seasonally healthy reservoir levels. A normal distribution of rainfall in July 2023 will be critical to ensure timely sowing of kharif crops over the majority of the country. ICRA expects the GDP growth to moderate to 6 per cent in FY2024, with a downside risk of up to 50 bps from the materialization of El Nino conditions, even as frontloaded capex by the Central government and the states and a rapid execution of infra projects could provide an upside." Aditi Nayar, Chief Economist, Head - Research & Outreach, ICRA Ltd.

Till Thursday, the live storage capacity of 146 reservoirs across the country stood at 54.577 billion cubic meters (BCM) which was 123 per cent of the average live storage of the last 10 Years and 95 per cent of the live storage of corresponding period of last year.

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First Published: May 26 2023 | 1:10 PM IST

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