A third of India’s districts have received deficient rainfall, even as the country’s cumulative rainfall this monsoon has been slightly above normal.
Between June and August, India received 743.8 millimeters of rain, 6% higher than the long-term average, according to the India Meteorological Department. Still, 32% of the country’s 700-plus districts had either deficient or largely deficient rainfall.
Large parts of the Gangetic plains that include Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, have been short of rainfall. “The deficiency ranges from 27% to 44%. The highest deficiency is in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Bihar,” Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, director general of IMD, said in a press conference.
As a result, rice sowing in the country has declined by over 17%, compared to last year.
A large part of India’s monsoons are triggered by the formation of low-pressure systems. Over the course of four months, about 14 low pressure systems on average are responsible for the advancement of southwest monsoon across the country.
“No system moved towards U.P., Bihar or Haryana. This is why you see droughts in the Gangetic plains and flooding in central India,” Mohapatra said. “This is not the first time this has happened.”
The rains received by regions were also extremely varied over three months.
In June, when all of India received deficient rainfall, the eastern and north-eastern parts saw rainfall in excess. In July and August, however, the same region dried up leading to it having 19% less-than-normal rainfall.
Meanwhile, higher rainfall in central and southern India in July and August has compensated for the deficiency.
The IMD expects the September rainfall to be 9% higher than the long-term average.
“Above normal rainfall activity in U.P. may help to compensate some of the deficiency,” Mohapatra said. “Bihar will have normal rains in September. However, Jharkhand will have below normal rains and, as a result, the deficiency will continue.”