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Despite El Niño concerns, India set to experience normal July rainfall

Indian government doesn’t maintain data for urban flooding

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that El Niño may occur in the Pacific Ocean in July. El Niño causes warmer temperatures and can cause changes in rainfall patterns. Despite this, IMD believes that India will receive normal rains in July.

El Niño concerns

The Ocean Niño index, which measures sea surface temperature anomalies, indicates an El Niño limit at the end of June. IMD expects it to cross the threshold in July. Other meteorological agencies, such as NOAA and the World Meteorological Organization, have also declared the presence of El Niño.

June saw extreme weather events in India such as heat waves, cyclones, floods, and landslides. The monsoon winds were in an unusual pattern, with a 10-day stalemate followed by rapid progress.

IMD is predicting above-normal rainfall for central and southern India, as well as parts of north-eastern and north-western India. In June, central and eastern India faced heatwaves and scant rainfall.

IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra stated that although June rains were 10% below normal, historically, below-normal June rains have been followed by normal July rains. However, 53% of the districts received poor or very poor rains through June 29, with 14 states experiencing poor rains and two facing very poor rains.

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The west coast, particularly Kerala, received 60% less rain than normal in June. The third week of June saw heatwaves, flooding in the north-east and rain from Cyclone Biparjoy in the west and north-west of India.

Extremely heavy rain

In June, there were 377 cases of very heavy rain and 62 cases of extremely heavy rain across the country. This was the highest number of very heavy rain events in the last five years.

Gujarat, Rajasthan, Assam and Meghalaya received the most extreme rainfall events. The west received rain due to Cyclone Biparjoy, while the northeast experienced rain due to an area of low pressure and an active monsoon.

Cyclone Biparjoy impacted the early monsoon in Kerala and disrupted monsoon winds over the Arabian Sea and the northern part of mainland India. It was one of the longest lasting cyclones in recent times.

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The cessation of monsoon winds over the Bay of Bengal resulted in warmer-than-normal days in eastern, central and some parts of southern India. Several regions experienced heat wave conditions, with Bihar recording the highest number of hot days.

Between March and June, India observed 218 Met-Subdivision-Days (MSD), which is the third highest in the past 13 years. Heat wave conditions were reported in several states including West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

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