The southwest monsoon rains arrived in Kerala on Tuesday, heralding the start of the monsoon season for mainland India, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
June 1 is the official onset date for arrival of monsoon in the country and it takes more than a month-and-half to cover the entire country.
The monsoon rains are a lifeline for India’s economy and break weeks of punishing heat, especially in central and northern states where dozens die every year due to heatstrokes.
The monsoon season in India lasts between June and September and the rains advance from the south, with northwestern India receiving rains between June 15 and July 15. The rains start withdrawing around August.
In its preliminary forecast in April, IMD had predicted a normal southwest monsoon this year.
In its preliminary forecast in April, IMD predicted a normal southwest monsoon this year, which occurs when rainfall is between 96- 104% of the 50-year average of 887 mm, also called the Long Period Average (LPA).
This year it will be 97% of the LPA with an error margin of +/- 5%, the weather agency said.
An updated monsoon forecast is expected in June.
The Met office declares the arrival of monsoon rains only after parameters measuring consistency of rainfall over a defined geography, intensity, cloudiness and wind speed are satisfied.
If after May 10, 60 per cent of the available 14 stations –Minicoy, Amini, Thiruvananthapuram, Punalur, Kollam, Allapuzha, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Kozhikode, Thalassery, Kannur, Kudulu and Mangalore — report 2.5 mm or more rainfall for two consecutive days, the onset of monsoon over Kerala can be declared on the second day. This is one of the main parameters for declaring the arrival of monsoon.
All the necessary parameters were met following which the onset of monsoon over Kerala was announced, Mritunjay Mohapatra, Additional Director General, IMD said.