Heavy rains in Kerala, Gujarat, Maharashtra

Thiruvananthapuram/New Delhi: The southwest monsoon hit Kerala on Monday on the normal onset date triggering heavy rain in several parts of the state as it marked the commencement of the four-month-long rainfall season that is crucial for the country”s farm output and economic growth.

The India Meteorological Department(IMD) sounded a red alert in Kozhikode district for two days after Vatakara and Quilandy received 15 cm and 9 cm of rainfall respectively, a bulletin said. A red alert warning indicates the likelihood of extremely heavy rain.

North India is likely to get ‘above normal’ rainfall, while central India and the southern peninsula will receive ‘normal’ rainfall. However, east and northeast India are likely to receive less rainfall than other parts of the country, according to the IMD.

The country receives 75 per cent of its rainfall from the southwest monsoon during June to September which is also crucial for replenishing the reservoirs.

“Southwest Monsoon has set in over Kerala today, the 1st June, 2020, coinciding with its normal date,” the IMD said in its website, as the southern state recorded widespread rainfall during the past two days.

IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra also announced the onset of the monsoon.

The IMD, meanwhile, warned that a cyclonic storm will cross north Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts late in the evening on June 3, bringing in its wake heavy rains in parts of the two states and Goa.

The Gujarat government has ordered evacuation of people living in low-lying coastal areas and deployed teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) in over half a dozen districts.

The IMD said the low-pressure area formed over the Arabian Sea has intensified into a depression and it will further intensify into a cyclonic storm in the next 36 hours.

Mumbai and its surrounding areas experienced a spell of light rain following a formation of the low pressure area in the Arabian Sea, bringing some respite to the people from the sweltering heat and humidity.

“It (cyclone) will have an impact on Mumbai,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said.

When the cyclonic storm crosses the coast on the evening of 3 June, it will have a speed of 105-110 kmph, the IMD said.

When asked by reporters whether the impending cyclone will have any impact on the progress of the southwest monsoon, M Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, said this will affect its pace.

“There will be a slight delay in the advancement of monsoon due to this cyclonic storm,” Rajeevan told a media briefing in Delhi on the second long range forecast for the 2020 southwest monsoon rainfall.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah took stock of the preparedness for the impending cyclone at a review meeting in Delhi.

The Home Ministry has deployed 23 teams of the NDRF in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, officials said.

Of the 23 teams of the NDRF, 11 teams were pre-positioned in Gujarat, 10 teams in Maharashtra and two teams in Daman and Diu, and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, the officials said. A team of the NDRF comprises about 45 personnel.

Shah also held a video conference with Chief Ministers of Gujarat and Maharashtra — Vijay Rupani and Uddhav Thackeray respectively — and Administrator of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Praful Patel, and assured them of all central help an official statement said.