Skymet predicts ‘normal’ monsoon this year

In what can spell good news for India’s farm sector and the economy overall, private weather forecast agency Skymet Weather has predicted ‘normal’ monsoon this year on the back of a statistically very high probability of good rains. In its first forecast, the agency ruled out the possibility of a drought year as a whole but warned of a “higher risk” of deficient rain in peninsular India and major portion of the northeastern part. It said, “The Monsoon 2018 is likely to remain normal at 100% (with an error margin of +/-5%) of the long period average of 887 mm from June to September”.

The monsoon is considered as ‘normal’ if average rainfall is between 96-104% of the LPA. The average rainfall in ‘above normal’ monsoon is between 104-110% of LPA while anything beyond 110% of the LPA is considered as ‘excess’.

Referring to probabilities in its 2018 forecast, Skymet Weather — which accurately predicted 2017 monsoon but not so well in 2015 — said there was a 55% chance of normal monsoon and east India, especially Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal “are most likely to see normal monsoon rains”.

The agency even spoke about 20% chance of ‘above normal’ and 5% chance of ‘excess’ rainfall during June-September period — this means there is quite a high probability for the monsoon to cross at least the ‘normal’ threshold this year. Anything less than 90% of the LPA is termed as a ‘deficient’ monsoon while 90-96% of the LPA is considered as ‘below normal’. The Skymet Weather’s forecast comes over a week ahead of IMD’s plan to make its formal monsoon prediction.

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