NEW DELHI: Rainfall over the country during the second half (August-September) of the southwest monsoon season is most likely to be normal, but the situation in east and northeast India, specifically Bihar, may continue to be grim with a high chance of the region facing drought, as per the latest India Meteorological Department (IMD) forecast released on Monday.
Below normal rainfall in east and northeast India has already impacted the ongoing paddy sowing operation in the Indo-Gangetic plain, dragging down the overall acreage of kharif (summer sown) crops compared to the sown area of the corresponding period last year.
Most parts of southeast India, northwest India (including Delhi-NCR) and adjoining westcentral India are, however, expected to get “normal to above normal” rainfall in August. Though the country received 8% higher cumulative rainfall in July after recording 8% of deficit in June, east and northeast India recorded its lowest ever July rainfall in 122 years. July rainfall in the country was 17% above the long period average, the highest since 2005.
“Rainfall over the country as a whole during the second half of the southwest monsoon season is most likely to be normal (94 to 106% of the long period average (LPA),” said IMD director general M Mohapatra, while releasing the met department’s latest forecast. The LPA of rainfall over the country during August to September period based on the data of 1971-2020 is 422.8 mm.
Referring to the situation in east & northeast India, Mohapatra said the acute rainfall deficiency may remain in Bihar and some other parts of the Indo-Gangetic plains and northeastern states during August-September even as there are chances of the deficiency reducing in Jharkhand, east Uttar Pradesh and parts of Gangetic West Bengal.
The spatial distribution of probabilistic forecasts for the tercile categories (above normal, normal, and below normal) of rainfall during August and September suggests that normal to above normal rainfall is very likely to over most parts of south India (except the west coast), west central India and northwest India.
Northwest India may get normal rains in August and this will boost the ongoing sowing operations of kharif crops in this part of the country. Paddy sowing remains a concern mainly due to sluggish rainfall in the Indo-Gangetic plains, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal.
Acreage data, released by the agriculture ministry last Friday, shows the area sown under paddy was 231 lakh hectares (LH) as on July 29 against 267 LH during the corresponding period last year — a deficit of 36 lakh hectares (13%).
While Punjab has already reported higher paddy acreage than last year, Haryana has almost bridged the gap which was quite high till mid-July. The overall current deficit of nearly 36 lakh hectares in paddy acreage is mainly attributed to the higher gap in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand.
On temperatures, the IMD predicted “above normal maximum temperatures” — meaning hotter-than-normal days — over many parts of the east central, east and northeast India and some parts of northwest and south interior peninsular India during August. It said “normal to below normal maximum temperatures” are likely over remaining parts of the country.
On the other hand, “above normal minimum (night) temperatures” are likely over some parts of east central, east, northeast and hilly areas of northwest India. “Normal to below normal minimum temperatures are very likely over many parts of northwest, west central and south India,” said the met department. This means nights would be normal or relatively less hot in these parts of the country.