While the IMD has predicted below normal rainfall this year, scientists are saying it’s too early to say if there will be a drought again.

After three consecutive drought years will Karnataka finally see a good monsoonRepresentational image
news Weather Thursday, June 07, 2018 - 18:53

Monsoon in Karnataka may have arrived under favourable conditions but weathermen are not fully convinced if there is reason for cheer yet, especially after three successive years of drought witnessed by the state.

For the next two days, heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in Uttara Kannada and Udupi districts, while heavy rain is expected in most parts of the state.

This year the onset of the monsoon was helped by successive cyclonic conditions in the Arabian Sea. This was the reason why Mangaluru and other coastal parts of the state experienced heavy spells of rainfall in the month of May. Even other parts of the state, including Bengaluru, saw good pre-monsoon rainfall due to local weather systems.

But the Indian Meteorological Department has predicted that as a whole, the state is likely to receive below normal rainfall.

“For all of south India, normal to below normal rainfall is expected. We are not expecting excess rain anywhere,” Sunil M Gavaskar, meteorologist at the Karnataka State Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre (KSNDMC) told TNM.

“The second stage long-range forecast by IMD is that the south peninsula will have 95% rainfall compared to LPA (long period average), which is a little lower than its first state forecast,” he said.

Speaking on the probability of another drought year, KSNDMC director Srinivas Reddy says it's too early to call, saying there is no way to gauge region-wise rainfall.

“Monsoon variability is very high - it varies from area to area even within regions. All over the country, we are expecting 95% normal rainfall in July and 100% in June. Other private agencies have also speculated almost the same thing. For me, again, the only worry is about the distribution,” he said.

“A 5% or 10% deficit is not a problem for Karnataka, but the problem is with the rainfall distribution in the state. If the distribution all over the state is uniform, that is enough for us, even with a 10% deficit,” he said.

“Only after an incident happens, we will come to know. Otherwise, there is no way to predict area-specific drought. We are prepared for any eventuality,” he said.

The state is still reeling under the effect of the three drought years.

“Right now, many reservoirs are not having sufficient water. But for the next one week, we are expecting good rainfall in the catchment areas of all these reservoirs, mostly coastal and Malnad region, during which we are expecting a good inflow to the reservoirs,” Sunil added.

However, bountiful pre-monsoon showers have resulted in better water levels compared to 2017.

In fact, this year, Karnataka witnessed the best pre-monsoon rainfall compared to the last 5 years, with 39% rainfall above normal.

However, Karnataka’s Agriculture Commissioner G Satish is optimistic with the IMD predictions.

“We are definitely looking forward to a good agricultural year. Karnataka is a major cereal producing state and, with a good monsoon, we expect good tur crop and with improved water inflow in our reservoirs we look forward to paddy production,” he told TNM.

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