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Monsoon Will Be 'Above-Normal' This Year

By Sanjeeb Mukherjee
April 26, 2024 09:02 IST
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It is in more than a decade that the IMD has predicted 'above-normal' rains in the country.

IMAGE: Medical staff wade through a waterlogged road in Nagpur, September 23, 2023. Photograph: Kind courtesy ANI Photo

The India Meteorological Department came out with an 'above-normal' forecast for the 2024 monsoon season, at 106 per cent of the long period average (LPA).

It is in more than a decade that IMD has -- in its initial April forecast -- predicted 'above-normal' rains in the country.

In a telephonic interview with Sanjeeb Mukherjee/Business Standard, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra spells out the details.

The Met department has forecast a monsoon at a hefty 106 per cent of the LPA. Is there a higher chance of flooding given that rains could be heavy this year?

Yes, that's the usual inference you can draw. If the rainfall is more, one can expect the probability of flooding to be more. But, when we are talking about floods, we need to consider whether it is riverine or urban floods.

If you talk of riverine floods, then in the North East, we have the major flooding system of the Brahmaputra and its tributaries. But, we are expecting 'below-normal' rains there. Therefore, floods won't be frequent in those parts at least.

In Odisha, too, we have predicted 'below-normal' rains. So, the Mahanadi river system won't see floods.

Then, there are the Himalayan rivers. From the western Himalayas... in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, we are expecting below normal rains. But in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, 'above normal' rainfall activity is predicted.

So, accordingly, you can infer that there could be chances of floods but not in all the rivers.

So basically, what you are saying is that the threat of flooding is more in Himachal and Uttarakhand?

You can say that and also in the Godavari river systems, there could be 'above normal' rains. But, it is very difficult to say now whether floods will actually happen or not.

IMD has said East and North East India could get 'below-normal' rains. What does this mean?

We have said that there is possibility of 'below-normal' rains in Odisha and adjoining areas of Gangetic West Bengal and Jharkhand. But, if you see the prediction map closely, there are many areas in Odisha, Chhattisgarh and other parts which are marked white.

This means that the forecast model was not able to give any signal whether the rains there will be 'below-normal', 'above-normal' or 'normal'.

There is no prediction by the model in the white areas, which are more in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

Also, with this kind of forecast, what should the government's preparations be? Can it afford to be 'complacent'?

I think from the meteorological point of view, it is good news and gives confidence on the monsoon, which is crucial for agriculture and water resources.

But, for any monsoon we need to remain vigilant because there will be large-scale variation in day-to-day rainfall activity.

Even if the overall monsoon is 'above-normal', there could be some areas where there will be floods. And, there will be other areas where the rains will be 'below-normal'.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Sanjeeb Mukherjee
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