India’s Southwest monsoon, which brings a majority of rainfall to the country, is expected to be normal this year, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.
M Rajeevan, secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said the monsoon this year will be 98% of the Long Period Average with an error margin of plus and minus 5%. “It is really good news for the country and will help India have a good agriculture output,” Rajeevan said.
Rainfall will likely be normal or above normal except for eastern Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Meghalaya where it is likely to be below normal, he said.
Earlier this week, leading weather forecaster Skymet predicted that the rains during the June-September monsoon would be around 103% of the historical average. Bountiful monsoons last year helped India achieve a record crop and enabled the country to ship out rice to across the world amid a food scarcity—such as in parts of western Africa.
Monsoon rainfall accounts for 70% of India’s annual rainfall and therefore has an important bearing on its crop production. Skymet predicted that there was a 60% probability of normal rainfall. There is also a 15% chance of above normal rains and 10% probability of excess rains.
The distribution, timing and spread of rainfall are all important for India’s vast and varied geographical landscape. It added that normal rains are expected in the most important sowing months of June and July.
Skymet said that there was a risk of fluctuations in rainfall to the breadbasket northern region, though the central and eastern parts will receive normal rains.