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India sees driest August since 1901, Sept rains could be 'normal': IMD

Cumulative rainfall set to be 'below normal'

Monsoon, rains, people, IMD, weather, atmosphere, environment, season

The rainfall in August was 161.7 millimeters which was the worst since 1901

Sanjeeb Mukherjee New Delhi

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After the driest August since 1901, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) held out some hope on Thursday, saying that the average rainfall in September is expected to be ‘normal’, in the range of 91-109 per cent of the long-period average (LPA) of 167.9 mm.

September accounts for about 19 per cent of the total seasonal rainfall.

Cumulatively, though, the unusually weak August month has ensured that even if the rainfall in September is towards the higher end of the band (say around 109 per cent of the LPA), the seasonal rains would be ‘below normal’. For the June-September period, rainfall between 96-104 per cent of the LPA is considered ‘normal’.

A revival of monsoon is badly needed for standing kharif crops, especially in states like Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, and Telangana, which received scanty rainfall in August.

The all-India average rainfall in August was 161.7 millimeters, which was 36 per cent less than normal -- the worst since 1901. Also, there was 20 days of monsoon break in August, which was the highest since 1989.

Due to scanty rains, the all-India average mean and maximum temperatures in August 2023 were the highest since 1901, and the minimum temperature was the second highest.

“There are three things that make us positive about an uptick in rains in September. First, the number of low pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal is expected to increase. Second, Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) will be favourable. Third, the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which has been ‘neutral’ all through August, is poised to become ‘positive’ and remain ‘positive’,” IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said at a virtual press conference.

Mohapatra said a revival of monsoon would begin from around September 2, and it would progressively get better.

Region-wise, the IMD said above-normal rainfall was most likely over many areas of northeast India, adjoining east India, foothills of Himalayas, and some areas of east-central and south peninsular India. The remaining parts may see normal to below-normal rainfall.

Mohapatra said there was no forecast of any early withdrawal of the southwest monsoon.

On El Nino, he said it was strengthening and would become stronger with each passing week and remain in force till early part of next year.

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First Published: Aug 31 2023 | 9:39 PM IST

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