2 cyclones give India wettest May in 31 years

Two cyclones, Tauktae and Yaas, have caused the highest May rainfall in the country in the last 31 years.

At 107.9mm and 74% all-India excess, the pre-monsoon rainfall in May was also the second highest for the month in over a century since1901.

Pulak Guhathakurta, head (climate research division), IMD, Pune, said, “As much as 64% of the country recorded excess rain in May, with maximum sub-divisions in central, northwest and south peninsular India showing large excess in the monthly rainfall.”

Since 1901, Guhathakurta said, India has recorded triple digit May rainfall only five times and this year was one of them. “The highest May rainfall so far was in 1990 at110.7mm. All meteorological subdivisions recorded high positive departures in May, the highest departure in Central India, followed by northwest India, then south peninsular India, followed by east and northeast India.”

Cyclone Yaas caused widespread rain over Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, and Orissa while Tauktae caused extensive rain over Konkan, Goa, Saurashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Maharashtra, coastal Karnataka among others.

In northwest India, regions like east and west UP, Uttarakhand, Harayana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west and east Rajasthan also recorded large excess in May rainfall, said Guhathakurta.

Kripan Ghosh, head of the agriculture meteorology division, IMD, Pune said, “Good rainfall in May is a boon for pre-kharif activities. Widespread rainfall in this month can be beneficial if rain in June as well as other monsoon months remain consistent, which is also what the second stage Long Range Forecast had recently indicated. IMD had said in the forecast that most parts of the country would receive normal to above normal rainfall with well distributed showers spatially in the June-September period.”

Ghosh said in rice-growing areas, nurseries could be prepared beforehand for kharif sowing with a good premonsoon rainfall.

“In the absence of such rainfall, the soil hardens which hampers land preparation for kharif sowing. When there is widespread rainfall before the monsoon sets in, all these activities could be done in advance so that actual sowing can begin in time with the arrival of the monsoon,” Ghosh said.

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