India received ‘above normal’ rainfall during 4-month monsoon season, says IMD

New Delhi: The country received above normal monsoon during the four-month rainfall season for the second consecutive year, recording the third highest precipitation in the last 30 years, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday.

The country received 109 per cent rainfall of the Long Period Average (LPA) with three of four months — June (118 per cent), August (127 per cent) and September (104 per cent) — witnessing above normal rainfall, while July recorded (90 per cent) deficient rainfall.

“Quantitatively, the 2020 monsoon seasonal rainfall during 1 June to 30 September 2020 has been 95.4 centimetres against long period average of 87.7 cm based on data of 1961-2010 (109 per cent of its LPA),” R K Jenamani, scientist with the IMD’s National Weather Forecasting Centre (NWFC) said.

Monsoon in the range of 96-104 per cent of the LPA is considered as ‘normal’; 104-110 per cent as ‘above normal’, above 110 per cent as ‘excess’. Rainfall below 90 per cent is considered as ‘below normal’.

The monsoon season in India officially starts on June 1 and lasts till September 30.

The southwest monsoon delivers about 70 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall, critical for the agriculture sector that accounts for about 14 per cent of India’s GDP and employs more than half of the country’s 1.3 billion population.

Good rains have boosted sowing of the kharif crops which farmers have sown in record 1,116.88 lakh hectares till last week as compared to 1,066.06 lakh hectares a year ago, according to the Agriculture Ministry’s data.

The IMD has four meteorological divisions. Of the four, the east and northeast India, central India and south India have received above normal rainfall. The northwest India division has recorded deficient rainfall.

Nineteen states and union territories have received normal rainfall this year, while nine states and union territories saw excess rainfall. Bihar, Gujarat, Meghalaya, Goa, Andhra Pradesh Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Lakshdweep islands have recorded above normal rainfall. Sikkim recorded large excess rainfall.

However, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir have recorded deficiency. Ladakh has recorded large deficiency. Delhi has also received deficient rainfall.

“Considering recent years since 1990, the all India seasonal rainfall this year was third highest, after 112 per cent of LPA in 1994 and 110 per cent of LPA in 2019,” Jenamani said.

“It is consecutively for two monsoon years, when India received good rainfall of 9 per cent of the LPA or more. Thus, 2019 and 2020 are the two consecutive above normal monsoon rainfall years, after 1958 (110 per cent of LPA) and 1959 (114 per cent of LPA),” Jenamani added.

Monsoon made an onset over Kerala on June 1, its normal annual onset date. Its timely onset was also aided by cyclone Nisarga. The monsoon covered the entire country by June 26, 12 days ahead of its normal date of July 8.

The withdrawal was also late. It withdrew from west Rajasthan and parts of Punjab on September 28, 11 days after its normal onset date.

One of the main features of the monsoon was the rainfall in August. The month saw five low pressure areas (cyclonic circulations) that brought large amount of rainfall over central India.

The total number of low pressure days was 28 against the normal of about 15 in August.

“It caused 2-3 spells of riverine floods over Odisha, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, south Gujarat and south Rajasthan. As a result, it was a record rainfall in August 2020, when all India rainfall was 127 per cent of LPA. It is highest in last 44 years, after August 1976 (128.4 per cent) of LPA. It is also fourth highest in last 120 years.

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