The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said the monsoon is unlikely to recover significantly until the second week of July.
Currently, it is stalled and has not progressed into much of northwest India in spite of a very strong start in June.
This hiatus could affect sowing in northwest India.
In a monthly update, the IMD on Thursday forecast rainfall for July over the country as a whole to “most likely be normal” (defined as being 96 to 104% of the historical average). July and August are the rainiest monsoon months, contributing over two-thirds of the rainfall, and therefore, critical to kharif crop sowing in most of the country.
Until June 19, monsoon rainfall was exceptionally high, with the average rainfall exceeding 40% of what is normal, and since then, rainfall has been declining.
In June, India normally gets 17.5 cm of rainfall, but this year, it has been 18.7 cm, or 6% more than normal.
The IMD said the monsoon has covered most of the country except the parts of Rajasthan, Delhi, Punjab and Haryana, and this was unlikely to happen until July second week. The key reasons for that were neutral El Nino Southern Oscilliation (ENSO) conditions that were likely to continue over the equilateral Pacific Ocean and that there was a enhanced possibility of development of negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions over the Indian Ocean during July-September. Both of these related to sea surface temperatures and currently seemed unfavorable to the monsoon progress.
IMD Director- General Mrutunjay Mohapatra said, “Agriculturists carrying out rice transplanting in north west India should be careful as no significant monsoon rain is expected this week. There are also no convective systems forming in the Bay of Bengal and this is unlikely until July second week.”
Historically, the monsoon covered the entire country by July 8, and within that, there was a week’s buffer, he added.