The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has cut its estimates for rainfall over the country as a whole during southwest monsoon season (August-September) to 87 per cent of the long period average (LPA) against its June forecast of 93 per cent.
The weather department had issued its first stage of forecast for the season on April 24 and predicted a rainfall over the country of 95 per cent of the LPA with a model error of 5 per cent. In an update issued on June 9, it said that the rainfall is likely to be 93 per cent of the LPA with a model error of 4 per cent.
According to the latest estimates by the weather department, there is a 46 per cent probability that rainfall would be below normal for the August-September period and 43 per cent probability of normal rains during the period.
Also, IMD has predicted a 68 per cent probability that season rainfall as a whole would be deficient and 24 per cent probability that it would be below normal.
IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 cm for the entire season
The lower rainfall will potentially affect farm output in a negative way which would lead to higher prices and would further accelerate inflation in Asia’s third-largest economy.
During August, the rainfall is likely to be normal to 96 per cent of LPA with a model error of 9 per cent, as predicted in June.
Region-wise, the southwest monsoon season for 2014 is likely to be 76 per cent of LPA over north-west India; 89 per cent of LPA over central India; 87 per cent of LPA over South Peninsula, and 93 per cent of LPA over north-east India with a model error of 8 per cent, according to the latest estimates by the weather department.
In 2013, India witnessed a 106 per cent rainfall, which was above average and resulted in record grains production at 262 million tonnes for the 2013-14 agri season starting July.
The last time when India faced drought with rainfall below the normal range was in 2009 and prior to that, in 2004 and 2002.
(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)