IMD betters monsoon forecast at 103% of average

IMD betters monsoon forecast at 103% of average
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Raises hopes for a bumper farm output

New Delhi: India's rainfed agriculture region is set to receive above-normal rainfall this monsoon season, the weather office said on Tuesday raising hopes for a bumper farm output and reining in inflation.

''The average rainfall this monsoon season is expected to be 103% of the long period average,'' India Meteorological Department Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra told reporters here. In April, the IMD had said the country would receive normal rainfall -- 99 percent of the long period average (LPA), which is the mean rainfall received over a 50-year-period from 1971-to 2020. The LPA for the entire country is 87 cm.

The monsoon core zone - states ranging from Gujarat to Odisha that is dependent on rainfall for agriculture - is set to experience above normal rainfall at more than 106 percent of the long period average, Mohapatra said. He said central India and the southern peninsula are set to receive above-normal rainfall, while north-east and north-west regions are likely to get normal rains.

This is the fourth consecutive year that India is likely to experience a normal monsoon. Earlier, India had witnessed a normal monsoon from 2005-08 and 2010-to 13. Mohapatra said shortly, India could witness normal monsoons as the decadal epoch of below-normal rains was nearing its end. ''We are now moving towards a normal monsoon epoch,'' he said.

Asked about the criticism faced by IMD for the ''hasty'' declaration of monsoon onset over Kerala, Mohapatra said the weather office followed a scientific process to announce the onset and progress of monsoon.

He asserted that 70 percent of the weather stations in Kerala had reported fairly widespread rainfall and other parameters related to strong westerly winds and cloud formation over the region were fulfilled. Mohapatra said the prevailing La Nina conditions, which refer to the cooling of the equatorial Pacific region, were expected to continue till August and augur well for the monsoon rains in India.

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