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August May End As Driest Of Last 100 Years, Pan India Season Deficit Likely To Reach 10 Percent

August 28, 2023 1:58 PM |

The month of August has reached ‘point of no return’.  Out of 27 days, below-normal rainfall was recorded on 23 days.  The shortfall in excess of 30% rainfall was witnessed on 16 days. A prolonged dry spell on account of ‘break’ and ‘weak’ monsoon conditions squeezed the month, possibly ending with the driest August in the last 100 years or even more.  Between 01st and 23rd August, actual rainfall was 154.3mm against the normal of 228.3mm, a huge deficit of about 32%.

The seasonal rainfall from 01st June to 23rd August remains below normal of the long period average (LPA).  The deficit was held at 7% for a week long between 20th-26thAugust and plunged further to 8% on 27th August.  Cumulative rainfall was 50.8mm short of normal and looks to be sliding further in the remaining days of August. In between, the shortfall during the month of August had climbed to nearly 40% on the 17th and 18th of August.  Some stray showers on a couple of days brought it down but still the highest since 1920.

The monsoon trough, the main driver and a semi-permanent feature during the month remained located far to the north of its normal position on most days. Western disturbance weather activity remained confined to the mountainous region, largely for the states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttrakhand.   None of the monsoon systems originating over the Bay of Bengal travelled deep up to the plains of north and west India.  The seasonal surplus of 28% rainfall of Northwest India as on 01st August has been majorly consumed and now merely stands at 6%. It may reach zero-zero by the month's end.

Earlier, in August 2009, an El Nino and drought year,  recorded the highest shortfall of 26%, since 2001. A deficiency of more than 20% during August was observed in 2001, 2005, 2009, 2015 and 2021. With the minimal rains expected during the remaining days of August, this month may end with a record deficit, in excess of 30% rainfall. The LPA for the 1st three months of this season may also stare at a big shortfall, nearing 10%.

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