The tardy progress of the monsoon, hitting Kerala nearly a week late has led to 44% lower-than-average rainfall so far in June, according to experts. This has delayed the sowing of summer-sown crops and raising concerns over a worsening drought. This shortfall could have a major impact on consumer demand, the economy and financial markets.
While the India Meteorological Department has forecast average rainfall for 2019, the country’s only private forecaster Skymet has predicted below-normal rain.
A normal, or average, monsoon means, according to IMD, between 96% and 104% rainfall of a 50-year average of 89 cm (35 inches) during the four-month monsoon season from June to September. Rainfall below 90% of the average is classified as deficient, the same as a drought.
Last year, for instance, India received 9% lower rainfall than normal, although in some regions the deficit was as high as 37%. Rainfall above 110% of the average would mean an excessive monsoon, which could cause flooding and reduce the crop yields. The monsoon season starts on the southern Kerala coast around June 1, and usually covers the country by the middle of July.