Stage set for monsoon onset

Intermittent spells of rain and thunderstorm activity have set the stage for the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala. Weathermen have stepped up monitoring of the monsoon parameters as the State awaits the first spell of rain to bring respite from the scorching summer heat.

A forecast bulletin issued by the India Meteorology Department on Thursday evening said the southwest monsoon had advanced into some more parts of southeast Bay of Bengal, some parts of east central Bay of Bengal, and remaining parts of the North Andaman sea.

Thunderstorm activity

“The increased thunderstorm activity over Kerala indicates that the monsoon currents are on the verge of arriving over the Indian mainland,” says S. Sudevan, Director, Met Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. “Rainfall is expected to pick up over the next week.”

The Met Centre has issued a thunderstorm alert for south Kerala for the next 24 hours. During the period, thunderstorms accompanied by gusty winds are very likely at isolated places in Thiruvananthapuram, Idukki, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Kottayam, and Pathanamthitta districts.

The IMD has forecast that the southwest monsoon is likely to set in over Kerala around May 30. According to private weather forecaster Skymet, the southwest monsoon has started its journey towards Kerala after covering the entire Andaman and Nicobar islands on May 16.

Skymet has forecast that the pre-monsoon showers are likely to intensify by May 25, making conditions favourable for the arrival of the monsoon over the Indian mainland by May 29.

Weathermen expect the monsoon parameters, namely rainfall, wind field, and outgoing long wave radiation (OLR) to be fulfilled by the last week of May.

Respite from heat

Meanwhile, the pre-monsoon showers, though intermittent, have provided relief to parched areas of the State.

The season’s rainfall data from March 1 to May 17 issued by the IMD show that the State as a whole received 232.1 mm of rainfall against a normal rainfall of 242.6 mm.

Wayanad, Thiruvananthapuram, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Kottayam, Idukki, and Ernakulam districts received normal rainfall while Alappuzha, Kannur, Malappuram, and Thrissur were deficient. Kasaragod was the only district to have a large deficiency of 78%.

Rainfall deficit of 33%

The State as a whole had a rainfall deficit of 33% during the last southwest monsoon (from June 1 to September 28). The seasonal rainfall data of the India Meteorology Department showed that Kerala received 1,344.1 mm against a normal of 2,016.9 mm during the period.

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