IMD sees rain this week as India reels under third-driest monsoon

India's third-driest monsoon is set to break any time now, according to latest indications from the India Meteorological Department.

With late and sporadic rainfall, June has ended up being the third-driest on record. But the IMD said today the rains will revive this week – as witnessed by the rising waves on Maharashtra's shores. But these of course may be short-lived, as they were in the first week of this month.

The monsoon deficit for the month is 43 per cent, according to the IMD.

The average countrywide rainfall in June was 92.4mm, the third lowest for the month in records dating back to 1901. The scantiest June rainfall was in 2009, when rains failed under a strong El Nino effect.

This year, "Conditions are becoming favourable for monsoon's further advance into more parts of Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Haryana during the next three-four days," according to B P Yadav, head of IMD's national weather forecasting centre in New Delhi.

P Sivananda Pai, the lead monsoon forecaster at the IMD's main control post in Pune, outlined reasons why this year's monsoon has been weak. "Firstly, heating of the northern plains, an important factor that draws monsoon winds inland, began only in the first week of June. Then, there have hardly been any low pressure systems forming in the Bay of Bengal," he said.

Yadav said signs were visible of a low pressure system developing over the Bay of Bengal in the next 24 hours, which would push rain-laden winds west into the northern plains.

Since June constitutes just 17 per cent of the summer monsoon rainfall in India, near-normal rains in the crucial months of July and August would go a long way in wiping much of the rain deficit.

In 1926, for instance, the monsoon recorded a shortfall of 48% in June but the season ended with almost 7 per cent above average rainfall due to a late surge in August and September.

But thanks to climate change, the monsoon is becoming more and more unpredictable, making things difficult for farming and creating a major threat of ever-increasing food inflation that could deflate the new Narendra Modi government.

The monsoon has been delayed in the grain bowl of Punjab, Haryana and west Uttar Pradesh by up to 10 days. Rains are expected to be deficient in the region, with IMD predicting 85 per cent rainfall for the season in northwest India.

 For the country as a whole, IMD has predicted the monsoon rains to be at 95 per cent of 'normal'.