We will get a clearer picture of the monsoon situation only around June. Currently we only have estimates of how the monsoon will be this year. Let us first understand what normal monsoon and below normal monsoon actually means?

What we understand by normal monsoons?

In the Indian context, normal monsoon is defined as rainfall at between 96% and 104% of the long period average (LPA). It is not just the quantum of rainfall but the distribution of the rains and the timely arrival that matters to the Kharif sowing season. Normally, rainfall that is 8% below normal i.e. 88% of LPA or below is considered to be a drought year.

What the SKYMET has predicted for this year?

The SKYMET is a private weather forecaster and they have estimate the rainfall to be below normal. SKYMET is of the view that the El Nino effect will led to below normal rainfall in this year. El Nino is a warm sea current and that has led to below average rainfall in 8 out of the 10 previous occasions in the last 50 years.

What the IMD has predicted for this year?

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is the government body that puts out its forecast of rains each year. This year, IMD has predicted normal rainfall despite the El Nino Effect. According to the IMD, the rainfall was likely as most of the “El Nino” effect would dissipate by the middle of June. If that is true then 2019 will be only the second instance after 1997 when India gets normal rainfall despite the El Nino effect. A clearer picture will only emerge when the official estimates are out in June.