Disturbingly, among the 15 worst years of rainfall since 1876, three have fallen in the last four years.

Water-starved With 62 deficit TN receives lowest ever rainfall since 1876
news Weather Friday, December 30, 2016 - 17:25

Just a year after the disastrous floods in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu, the state is facing one of its worst monsoons in 150 years. Records show that in 2016, the state received the lowest ever rainfall in a year since 1876.

According to data from the Indian Meteorological Department, rainfall in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in 2016 was just a little over 9mm higher than the record low of 1876. 

IMD statistics show that Tamil Nadu and Puducherry suffered large deficits of 62% and 79% respectively.

In what could indicate a disturbing trend, among the 15 worst years of rainfall since 1876, three have fallen in the last four years.    

Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu get the majority of their rainfall from the North-East monsoon (October-December). The total rainfall count in a year for the state is mostly dependent on these rains.

“This year there were a number of reasons which worked against the NE monsoon. The NE monsoon always needs a trigger in order to set in,” weather blogger Srikant, who runs the Chennai Rains blog, told The News Minute.

“This year the onset itself was delayed. Then BOB 04 (the cyclone which came between Kyant and Nada) got diverted towards East India and Bangladesh, that further delayed the onset by another five days,” added Srikant.

After this, he added, prevalent weather systems were not favourable this year either. "There were strong northern winds for nearly three weeks which generated more land breeze (without moisture)."

Srikant said, “No specific reason can be blamed for a poor North East Monsoon as it is dependent on a cycle of global weather events.”

On the rain received due to Cyclone Vardah, he said that although parts of Chennai and other parts of North Tamil Nadu received heavy to very heavy rainfall, south Tamil Nadu was mostly unaffected.

“Hence, it would not reflect on the yearly rainfall count which is a weighted average of all the rainfall received throughout the state,” Srikant added.

With samba crops threatening to fail in large parts of the water-starved state, farmers are agitating in many parts of Tamil Nadu with the demand that the state be declared drought-hit, and relief measures be put into place.  

However, Pradeep John who runs the popular Facebook page Tamil Nadu Weatherman feels “technically the monsoon is alive”.

In his Facebook post on Friday, he said that the state might receive rainfall during the second week of January due to an expected system that is likely to develop in the Bay of Bengal.

He said rain in the festive occasion of Pongal was last notice in 1995 but cautioned not to read further into the matter.