NEW DELHI: India could face its third consecutive below-normal monsoon this season, with rainfall expected to be 93% of the long-period average, independent weather forecaster Skymet said.
With the rain-busting El Niño at play, there is only a 30% chance of normal rain during this year’s southwest monsoon, which delivers about 70% of the country’s annual rainfall, according to Skymet. There is a 55% probability of belownormal rainfall this year.
“The Pacific Ocean has become strongly warmer than average. The model projections call for 80% chance of El Niño during March-May, dropping to 60% for June to August,” said Jatin Singh, managing director at Skymet. “This means, it is going to be a devolving El Niño year, though retaining threshold values all through the season. Thus, monsoon 2019 is likely to be below normal.”
August and September are likely to witness normal showers, according to the forecast. Odisha, Chhattisgarh and coastal Andhra Pradesh are most likely to see normal rains throughout the season.
Skymet had predicted normal rains in its preliminary monsoon forecast in February. While the probability of a normal monsoon was kept at about 50%, the forecast also attached a significant chance of rainfall ending in below-normal range.
Rainfall is expected to get better in the second half of the season as the El Niño phenomenon — associated with the warming of the sea surface in the Pacific Ocean — is expected to weaken.