Monsoon to arrive in next 3-4 days, says Met office

The meteorological office has some good news for millions of Indians who have had to brave the scorching heat and temperatures in the high forties this summer - monsoon is likely to hit the south on schedule in the next three or four days.

A failure of the monsoon last year pushed up food prices and the prospect of a normal June-September monsoon will definitely be welcome as it will help the government control food inflation. In the event the rains fail again, inflation is likely to soar again, forcing a hike in interest rates and hitting government plans to borrow around $100 billion during the current financial year.

"Conditions are becoming favourable for onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala during next 3-4 days," the meteorological office said.

The timely start of the monsoon rains would ensure the right timing for the sowing of a wide variety of crops, including rice, corn, soybean and cotton, in India where 60 per cent of the farms depend entirely on rainfall for irrigation.

Though the rains have already arrived in Kerala, officials say they will wait for certain characterisitics of the monsoon to become evident.

They will declare the onset of monsoon only if the rainfall on the southern tip of the country is accompanied with other developments, including certain moisture levels in the air, the spread of rains and other parameters.

According to B N Goswami, director of the Pune-based Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, weather conditions over the Indian Ocean did not signal an early arrival of the monsoon rains.

According to weather officials and experts, the monsoon rains had not advanced for the past six days because of cyclone Laila. But, they say, it is not a big cause for concern as there is still time for the onset.
This year, the monsoon arrived at the first destination of its four-month journey across the subcontinent - the Andaman and Nicobar Islands - on 17 May, ahead of the usual 20 May dateline.