Monsoon likely to hit Kerala on Jun 1

New Delhi: Monsoon will hit the Kerala coast on time on June 1, setting the stage for the four-month annual rainfall season crucial for India`s agri-based economy. "The date of onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala is likely to be on June 1 with a model error of four days," India Meteorological Department announced here today.

Stage is set for the onset of monsoon in South Andaman Sea, which usually happens around May 20. The seasonal rains then make steady progress towards the mainland, bringing showers to the Kerala coast first and cheer to millions of farmers. "The monsoon is likely to advance over Andaman Sea slightly later than its normal date but well within one standard deviation," the weather office said.

It said past data suggests absence of any one to one association between the date of monsoon advance over Andaman Sea and the date of monsoon onset over Kerala or with the seasonal monsoon rainfall over the country. Last month, India had predicted a normal monsoon for the third consecutive year. There was 47 per cent probability of a normal monsoon as against 24 per cent probability of below normal rains this season, the weather office said in the long range forecast announced on April 26..

Monsoon is crucial for kharif crops such as rice, cotton, soyabean and maize because almost 60 per cent of the farm land in the country is rainfed. India is estimated to have harvested a record 252.56 million tonnes of foodgrains in the 2011-12 crop year as against 244.78 million tonnes in the previous year.