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Monsoon update: Above-normal rainfall forecast for India’s agricultural heartland, says IMD

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Monsoon Forecast: India’s main monsoon zone, which covers most of the country’s rain-fed agricultural areas, is expected to receive above-normal rainfall this season, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). (PTI Photo)

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Regional predictions: IMD forecasts below-normal monsoon rainfall in northeast India, normal in the northwest and above normal in the central and southern regions of the peninsula. This prediction was shared by IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra during a virtual press conference. (PTI Photo)

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Seasonal outlook: The IMD maintains its April forecast, predicting above-normal rainfall during the four-month monsoon season (June to September). Cumulative precipitation is estimated at 106% of the long-term average of 87 cm. (PTI Photo)

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Agricultural impact: The country’s main monsoon zone, where agriculture is mainly rain-fed, includes large parts of Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and the ‘Uttar Pradesh. These areas are waiting to receive above-normal rainfall, which is good news for the country. (PTI Photo)

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Past trends: During the 2023 monsoon season, India recorded below-normal cumulative rainfall (94% of the long-term average) due to a drier June and August. Northeast India records below normal monsoon rainfall since 2021according to IMD data. (PTI Photo)

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June forecast: IMD chief predicts normal precipitation (92-108% of long-term average of 166.9 mm) in June. Apart from a few regions in the south of the Indian peninsula, normal Higher than normal maximum temperatures are expected in the country in June. (PTI Photo)

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Heat relief: With crippling heat straining power grids and triggering drought-like conditions in parts of the country, the forecast for above-normal monsoon rainfall appears to be a huge relief for the nation. (PTI Photo)

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Climate change: However, normal Cumulative rainfall does not guarantee a uniform temporal and spatial distribution of rainfall across the country. Climate change increases the variability of the rainfall system, leading to a decrease in the number of rainy days and an increase in heavy rain events, causing frequent droughts and floods. (PTI Photo)

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Water reserves: The monsoon is essential for India’s agricultural landscape and for replenishing reservoirs critical for drinking water and electricity production. Last week, water storage at 150 major In India, reservoirs fell to just 24% of their storage capacity, exacerbating water shortages in many states and significantly affecting hydropower generation. (PTI Photo)

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El Niño and La Niña: Currently, El Niño conditions prevail and La Niña could set in by August-September. While El Nino is associated with weaker monsoon winds and drier conditions in India, La Nina brings heavy rainfall during the monsoon. Data from 1951 to 2023 period shows that India experienced an above-normal situation precipitation during the monsoon season on nine occasions when La Nina followed an El Nino event. The country experienced an above normal or normal monsoon in 20 out of 22 years of La Nina. (PTI Photo)

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