23 May : South-west monsoon, crucial for the cultivation of kharif crops on Saturday reached Kerala a week ahead of its normal date, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said."The south-west monsoon has reached Kerala," IMD Director B P Yadav told the news agency in New Delhi.Monsoon rains are key for cultivation of kharif crops which account for nearly 60 per cent of the farm output of the country.
A good kharif season augurs well for a range of goods and services.The weather office had earlier forecast that monsoon would reach Kerala between 23rd and 25th May.
The normal monsoon onset date over Kerala is June one.Most parts of the state have been receiving widespread pre-monsoon showers, creating the mood of the arrival of the rainy season, known in local parlance as "Kalavarsham".
Yadav said monsoon was expected to advance further in the next few days in Kerala and the northeastern parts of the country.
Weather scientists are keeping a close watch on the low pressure area currently lying over east-central Bay of Bengal which is expected to intensify into a cyclone.
In such a case monsoon may play a disappearing act over peninsular India as the cyclone would suck away moisture over the region and weaken the monsoon system.
Last year, the South West Monsoon broke in over Kerala on 28th May, three days ahead of the normal onset date of June one.
Despite its early onset, the actual amount of rainfall in the initial phases of the monsoon was much below the expected levels, having adverse consequences on the farm sector and the hydro power generation in the state.
Farmers in peninsular region of the country begin sowing seeds by 10th June after a spell of rains during the onset phase.
Experts believe that the peninsular region would go through a dry phase as cyclone developing in the Bay of Bengal would weaken the monsoon system.
About 235 million farmers are dependent on monsoon rains for reaping a good harvest.
Monsoon also replenishes water in reservoirs which aid irrigation and hydel power generation.
A brighter side to the expected disappearance of rains is the active Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO), a periodical wave transiting east Africa into the southwest Indian Ocean and the north Indian Ocean.
The MJO, which is in its withdrawal phase, is expected to remain active in the first week of June and could give the much required trigger to the monsoon system.
In case MJO does not aid the revival of monsoon, peninsular region could expect a long lull in the rainfall.
However, the progress of monsoon in northern regions is expected to remain unaffected as the system could revive itself after the lull.