The much-feared El Niño conditions, which are threatening a good monsoon in India, are at a neutral stage and might at best grow into a moderate one by the middle of the June-to-September rains, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.
It again said the majority of the models were predicting a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which is good news for the southwest monsoon.
This is similar to the predictions made this month, when the first-stage monsoon forecast for 2023 was released.
Releasing the temperature and rain forecast for May, IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said in May 2023 monthly maximum temperatures are expected to be above normal over east-central and east India and some parts of Northeast and peninsular India. However, it is likely to be normal to below normal over Northwest and West-Central India.
This effectively also means that East and South India will experience searing heat next month while the majority of summer months in one of the main heat zones of the country, that is the Northern states, will remain less hot this year though it is not certain that no heat wave there will occur.
Temperatures over North and Central India over most days in March and April were below normal this year.
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The IMD said a wet spell with thunderstorms was likely to continue over most parts of India over the next five days.
“Heatwaves over East and North-East India are expected to be more severe this year than in the northern parts due to the low thunderstorm activity, weak anti-cyclone over the Bay of Bengal and less impact of the western disturbances that originated in the North towards the eastern part of the country,” Mohapatra said.
He said rain in May across India was most likely to be normal (91-109 per cent of the long-period average).
Normal to above-normal rain is expected over Northwest India, many parts of West-Central India, and northern part of peninsular India. However, below-normal rain is likely in most parts of Northeast India, many parts of East-Central India and South Peninsular India, the IMD said.
On monsoon, Mohapatra said the next big forecast would come in the middle of next month when the monsoon onset date would be announced.
In April, the IMD said above-normal rainfall was experienced over Northwest and Central India and normal to below-normal rainfall was observed over the Southern Peninsula and the Northeast.
“Almost 80 per cent of the temperature and rainfall forecasts that we made for April have come correct,” Mohapatra said.
India recorded 2,770 deaths due to extreme weather events in 2022
Around 2,770 lives were lost in India in 2022 due to extreme weather events, according to the data compiled by the IMD. Of these, 1,580 were due to lightning and thunderstorms, which accounted for the maximum number, while around 1,050 were due to floods and heavy rain.
The remaining deaths were due to other extreme weather events such as heat waves and hailstorms. UP accounted for the highest number, followed by Bihar, Assam, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
The IMD said the highest annual rainfall anomaly over the long-period average in 2022 was observed in Karnataka, Rajasthan and Telangana.