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Will rainfall deficit for June break a seven-year record?

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Having totted up a rainfall deficit of 38 per cent with one full week to go, June this year is on the brink of being bracketed with, if not bracing to beat the record for the worst monsoon onset in the last seven years.

Until now, June 2014 held the record (a deficit of 42 per cent) for the least cumulative rainfall realised during the monsoon onset month, according to the India Met Department (IMD) statistics.

The second worst monsoon onset was recorded in June 2012 with a deficit of 28 per cent. This has been breached by a significant margin. A lot will, therefore, depend on the monsoon realisation during the week left in this month.

NEXT BAY 'LOW'

The week-long delay in onset of the monsoon and initiation of the very severe cyclone 'Vayu' early in the season, though tracking along the coast, has disrupted its spread and progress.

It took last week's fresh low-pressure area over the North-West Bay of Bengal to revive the monsoon current, a process that is still in progress, though not supported by expected spatial and temporal coverage.

The 'low' has weakened into a rudimentary cyclonic circulation, and lies over East Madhya Pradesh, backed up by a land-based trough from Rajasthan, extending across the plains to the South-East.

But the trough is of not much help unless its South-Eastern tip dips into the Bay of Bengal. And this can happen only with the formation of another 'low' in the Bay.

The next 'low,' and a strong one at that, is expected to form over the 'Head' Bay (northern-most part) - which is the most ideal location with regard to prospects of good rain for North India - in early July.

The Climate Prediction Centre of the US National Weather Services, too, shows a system climbing in from the Head Bay and tracking a West-North-West course over land into Bihar and Uttar Pradesh around this date.

TRACK IS CRUCIAL

A significant aspect to be noted here is that if the track of the 'low' happens to be too close to the foothills of the Himalayas, it could bring about an inevitable 'break-monsoon' phase.

This phase signals a pause in the monsoon over large parts of the country, except along the foothills, parts of the East Coast, which is when areas such as Tamil Nadu could hope to get bonus rainfall.

Forecasts until then suggests that rains could likely be moderate over most parts and isolated heavy over East India, the adjoining South Peninsula and along the West Coast, until the next 'low' materialises in the Bay.

This (Monday) morning, the monsoon had advanced into some more parts of Konkan; most parts of Madhya Maharashtra; the remaining parts of Marathwada and Vidarbha; some parts of Madhya Pradesh; some more parts of Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh; and some parts of Uttarakhand, the IMD said.

The northern limit of the monsoon passes through Alibag, Malegaon, Khandwa, Chhindwara, Mandla, Pendra, Sultanpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, and Mukteshwar.

Conditions are favourable for its further advance into Konkan, Madhya Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh; some parts of Gujarat; and some more parts of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand over the next two days.

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