Southwest Monsoon Story so Far – South India

With about 10 days left how has this year’s Southwest Monsoon been so far for South India?  Unlike the rest of the country South India possibly is unique as far as Monsoon goes because of the presence of Western Ghats which creates rainfall pattern that varies drastically even if the distance between the two coastline is about 100 – 150 km at its closest.  Overall this year’s Southwest Monsoon has been below normal with possibly the poorest August in recent times playing spoil sport.

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Only Andhra Pradesh & Telengana have seen above average rainfall this year with all other states recording negative anomalies.  The worst of the lot is Kerala which stands at -32% as on date and is likely to end as a deficit year for the state with not much on the horizon over the next couple of weeks.  Overall South India stands at about -10% deficit as on date.

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If one were to see the district spread of how the rainfall has panned for this year’s  monsoon the pitiable state of Kerala becomes more obvious with all the 14 districts under deficit category. Overall about two thirds of South India has seen normal monsoon going by how IMD classifies seasonal rainfall pattern.

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Tuticorin is the only district in South India that is under scanty category recording less than 40% rains against average so far.  It appears going by how things are Wayanad district also could join this club if things dont improve over the next few days.  One should not forget Wayanad had a very poor  monsoon last year as well.   With Northeast Monsoon only helping the South Kerala districts it is going to be a long summer ahead for North Kerala districts next year until the arrival of Pre monsoon showers.

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In a damning statistic which shows how core monsoon area in South India has been short changed this year all the top 10 districts to record highest rainfall this year have negative anomalies with 9 out of 10 districts having deficient rains this year.  Kodagu & Wayanad two very important districts for the catchment of Cauvery & Kabini rivers have a deficit of -29% and – 59% respectively.  No wonder this year we have seen difficult in sharing the Cauvery waters between the two riparian states of Karnataka & Tamil Nadu.

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If South West Coast dominates the districts with highest rainfall it is the South East Coast that dominates the districts with lowest districts.  Some of these districts may be less than 150 kms apart but end up getting vastly different rainfall numbers indicating the crucial role Western Ghats play in regulating the rainfall pattern over the region.