Pre-monsoon rainfall from March to May, which is a phenomenon vital to agriculture in several parts of the country, has recorded a deficiency of 22 percent, according to India Meteorological Department (IMD) data.
The IMD recorded 75.9 millimetres of rainfall from 1 March to 15 May against the normal rainfall of 96.8 millimetres, which comes to around minus 22 percent. From 1 March to 24 April, the IMD recorded a deficiency of 27 percent. The deficiency this week seems to have fallen over the last fortnight due to rains over east and northeast India.
Meanwhile, the southwest monsoon has advanced into the South Andaman Sea and conditions are favourable for it to reach the North Andaman Sea and the Andaman Islands in the next two to three days, the IMD said.
Of the four meteorological divisions of the IMD, the south peninsula, which comprises all the southern states, has recorded pre-monsoon deficiency of 46 percent " the highest in the country.
This was followed by 36 percent in the northwest subdivision that covers all the north Indian states " it was 38 percent from 1 March to 24 April, but has dropped by 2 percent due to rainfall across several parts.
The deficiency in the east and northeast region that covers eastern states of Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, and northeastern states was seven percent. There was no deficiency in the central region which comprises states of Goa, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. However, according a map on the IMD website, Maharashtra showed a "high deficiency".
However, from 1 March to 24 April the pre-monsoon rainfall recorded in the central division was five percent than normal. The region has also been witnessing intense heat waves and several dams in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra have reached zero storage level.
Pre-monsoon rainfall is important for horticulture crops in some parts of the country. In states like Odisha, ploughing is done in the pre-monsoon season, while in parts of northeast India and the Western Ghats it is critical for plantation of crops.
Laxman Singh Rathore, former director general of the IMD, said in parts of northeast India and the Western Ghats, pre-monsoon rainfall is critical for plantation crops. There will be "moisture stress" incase of a deficit, he said.
Crops like sugarcane and cotton, planted in central India, survive on irrigation and also require supplement of pre-monsoon rains, Rathore added. "In the forested regions of Himalayas, pre-monsoon rainfall is necessary for plantations like apple. Due to moisture, pre-monsoon rainfall also helps in minimising the occurrence of forest fires," he said.