India’s south-west monsoons might enter a brief lull period by late July or early August, giving much-needed respite to areas reeling under floods and excess showers. However, if the lull extends beyond a fortnight then it might harm standing crops, particularly oilseeds and pulses in those areas where irrigation facilities are weak.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has discounted any such eventuality and has said that rains in August will be better than July.
“We are sticking to our prediction of August getting better rains that July,” Director General of IMD, Dr K.J Ramesh told Business Standard.
IMD in its updated forecast issued in June had said that total rainfall in August would be 99 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA) which was better than 96 per cent of LPA predicted for July.
The forecast was with a model error of plus and minus 9 per cent.
July and August are the most important months in the four-month long southwest monsoon season that starts from June.
The met department in its latest weather update predicted that overall rainfall activity is likely to be below normal as a whole from July 27 to August 02.
“The monsoon might enter into a temporary weak phase till August 8-9 in most parts of the country barring the Indo-Gangetic plains as there is no big weather systems developing during this period after the current active period,” Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist at private weather forecasting firm Skymet said.
He said the current active phase of monsoon over most of central, western, north-western parts will cease in the next few days after which sporadic rainfall activity will continue.
“Thereafter, again some weather systems might develop,” Palawat added.
The back-to-back low-pressure areas and the very active phase of south-west monsoon had pushed the overall rainfall to 11 percent more than normal during the week that ended on July 19.
During the entire season so far, the south-west monsoon has been 1 percent above normal. But in several pockets like South Interior Karnataka, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu, the rains have been less than normal. In Tamil Nadu around 7 districts have received poor rains. In Karnataka two districts got below normal rains and in Jharkhand one district witnessed the same fate.
Latest data from the department of agriculture showed that till July 21, around 68.5 million hectares of land was brought under kharif crops, which was nearly 2 per cent more than the same period last year, and over 5 per cent more than normal acreage sown.
However, the acreage under arhar, soybean, groundnut and sunflower was less compared to the same period last year. Retail price of all these four commodities had fallen last year due to the bumper harvest.
The data showed that area under arhar was around 19.22 per cent less than last year, while that under soybean, groundnut and sunflower seed was around 17.76 per cent, 11.51 per cent, and 18.99 per cent less than last year.
The acreage seems to have shifted to cotton in some parts, particularly in the case of soybean and groundnut with the area increasing by almost 21 per cent as compared to the same period last year.
However, rains have pushed up the water levels in reservoirs across the country.
According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), water levels in 91 major reservoirs across the country as on July 20 was 43.73 billion cubic meters (BCM), which was 28 per cent of their full capacity.
When monsoon started the water levels in the reservoirs were at 21 per cent of their full capacity. This shows there has been an improvement of 7 percentage point in the past two months.