The southwest monsoon has covered the Nicobar Islands and the entire south Andaman Sea, three days ahead of its normal onset and is expected to touch the southern Kerala coast ahead of its normal arrival date of 1 June, the meteorological department has said.
"In view of the strengthening and deepening of southwesterly winds, persistent cloudiness and rainfall, southwest monsoon has advanced into some parts of southeast Bay of Bengal, Nicobar Islands, entire south Andaman Sea and parts of north Andaman Sea today," the India Meteorological Department said on Sunday.
IMD Director General K G Ramesh, however, declined to ascertain the possibility of the monsoon hitting the Kerala coast ahead of its normal arrival date, which is 1 June.
The normal onset date over Kerala, termed as the official arrival of the seasonal rainfall in India, is June 1.
While the southwest monsoon has set in early over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, ahead of the normal date of 17 May, Ramesh said the prevailing conditions do not suggest that monsoon could hit Kerala early.
"Conditions are favourable for further advance of southwest monsoon into some parts of southwest Bay of Bengal, some more parts of Southeast Bay of Bengal, remaining parts of Andaman Sea, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and some parts of east-central Bay of Bengal during the next 72 hours," the IMD said.
The Met Department had, last month, predicted 'normal' rainfall this year at 96 per cent of the benchmark long period average (LPA), with a model error of ± 5 per cent.
The IMD will release the second forecast for the season in the first week of June.
Ramesh also said "there is a relatively moderate possibility of El Nino conditions" developing during the second half of the monsoon months (June-September), which could adversely impact progress of monsoon rains, even as the neutral conditions of the Indian Ocean dipole are likely to result in "good distribution of rainfall across the country".
Meanwhile, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said prospects of a strong El Nino developing in the Equatorial Pacific have receded.
Possibilities are that the monsoon would be normal. This is expected to boost agricultural production, while also boosting reservoir levels and an improvement in the supply of drinking water and higher hydel power generation.