Skymet said September would be much better and it expects it to end at 111 per cent of the LPA
Private weather forecasting agency Skymet has lowered its 2016 southwest monsoon forecast to 100 per cent of the Long Period Average (LPA), which is ‘normal’, down from its April forecast of 105 per cent of the LPA.
Both forecasts were with a model error of plus or minus four per cent. Skymet said the forecast was revised downward as August has been drier than expected. Rain this month is expected to be around 92 per cent of the LPA, against the earlier forecast of it being 108 per cent. The LPA for August is 261 millimetres (26.1 cm).
However, this isn’t expected to impact the kharif harvest, as crop sowing is almost complete and residual moisture in the soil is adequate.
Skymet said September would be much better and “we expect it to end at 111 per cent of the LPA”.
The agency came into the reckoning after it correctly predicted the 2009 drought, the worst in three decades. However, it went woefully wrong last year when it forecast a ‘normal’ monsoon, while the country suffered a second year of drought.
This year, it had predicted the four-month season would see enough rain to be 105 per cent of the LPA. The LPA for the full-year is the average rain over 1951 to 2001, estimated to be 887 mm.
Skymet said the monsoon started on a slow note in June and picked up a strong pace in July, among the best in the past decade. Rain in August also started on a bright pace and the cumulative countrywide rain reached 103 per cent in the first week and maintained the surplus status till August 12.
After which, these have considerably reduced along the west coast and peninsular India. As of Thursday, as mentioned earlier, the cumulative countrywide monsoon rain was 100 per cent of the LPA.
Photograph: Ajay Verma/Reuters