The northeast monsoon has set in over parts of South India Wednesday, triggering an orange alert in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Confirming the development, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) predicted rainfall across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and in parts of Lakshadweep Islands, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala.
As per IMD's ranking, an orange alert asks people to "be prepared". If a red alert is issued, residents are advised to "take action". Green signifies "no warning".
"The Southwest monsoon has withdrawn from the entire country and simultaneously Northeast monsoon rains have commenced over Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala," IMD said in a statement.
The retreat of the southwest monsoon is one of the fastest realised in recent years. The withdrawal had commenced on October 9 from Punjab and Rajasthan and subsequently from regions along the central and eastern India region during the week. The 2019 monsoon saw the most delayed monsoon withdrawal ever over the country.
According to S Balachandran, Director of the Area Cyclone Warning Centre, Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Cauvery delta districts in Tamil Nadu will receive rainfall in the next 24 hours.
Surplus rainfall for southern states
This year, during the June-September period, Karnataka (18 per cent), Pudducherry (15 per cent), Kerala (5 per cent),Tamil Nadu (1 per cent) recorded surplus rainfall. As a result, these states are in a comfortable position with respect to their water requirements even before the commencement of the northeast monsoon. With both the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal remaining warmer than usual in this post-monsoon period, the upcoming season is expected to cause storms, which in turn could cause above normal rain to the southern states. However, the concern is how much more rain can these areas withstand.
The northeast monsoon, which will continue till December, is crucial for Tamil Nadu as it is the source of 70 per cent of its annual rainfall.
Major dams in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are already stocking buffer reserves owing to excess rain. At the end of September, reservoir-wise water stocks stood at: Andhra Pradesh (127 per cent), Tamil Nadu (70 per cent), Karnataka (22 per cent), Telangana (11 per cent) and Kerala (6 per cent).
(With inputs from Express News Service)