The monsoon weakened in most parts of the country this month, taking the season's total rainfall to 5% below normal -an embarrassment for forecasters who predicted 5-6% surplus showers -although most crops and reservoirs are in good shape. Agriculture experts said there are some concerns about crops in parts of the country even as the overall farm situation remains positive after strong rainfall in July and August.
September rainfall has been 19% lower than normal, except in east and northeast India, where it was 66% in excess. All other regions reported a deficit of 40-50% this month. The India Meteorological Department, which has the best track record in monsoon prediction, said the deficit can narrow with rainfall this week.
Officials in the weather office said they will not change the forecast projection at this stage, with a little over a fortnight left for the season to end. The weather forecaster said at the start of the season that the June-to-September monsoon rainfall over the country was likely to be 106% of the average with a model error of ±4%. Skymet Weather Services had predicted in April that the monsoon this year would be 105% of the average.Another private agency , Weather Risk Management Services , had anticipated that rainfall would be 4% above average in most parts of the country , except the northeast.
The weather office correctly predicted the late onset of the monsoon this year, unlike rivals that wrongly forecast an early arrival.This year, the southwest monsoon made landfall on the Kerala coast on June 8 and covered the country by July 13. The weather office was close to its forecast onset date of June 7 while Skymet had predicted an early onset over Kerala between May 28 and May 30 instead of the normal date of June 1.As of Sunday, the monsoon had delivered 748.7 mm of rainfall since start of the season, with normal rainfall in most parts of the country .