The month of March has been rather harsh for many crops across several parts of the country. Widespread rains lashed several parts of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. Even Gujarat also experienced unseasonal rains but was mercifully light to moderate only. This untimely and unrelenting weather activity has triggered fear amongst the farmers about damage to the standing crops. Rains are not good at this stage and will certainly affect the yield of the crops.
Bihar government has allocated 518 Crore as compensation to be given to those farmers suffering damage of more than 33% to their crops. The farmers are facing a double whammy of untimely rains and government-imposed curfew. This 21 days nationwide lockdown coincides with the peak harvest season of Rabi crops in many parts of the country. The farmers are seeking regulated exemptions to save their produce. Even as steps are being taken to find our ways to allow harvesting, the lockdown has created concerns over the unavailability of Farm labourers.
The crops of wheat, gram, mustard, and lentils are ready for harvest in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other parts of central India. The late harvesting, if so, will incur losses of 5-10% of produce due to ‘shattering’ in wheat and mustard. The lockdown has also derailed the process of procurement. The registration by the farmers and the schedule of procurement need to be planned afresh.
Confirmed coronavirus cases around the world have exceeded 645194 across 194 countries. Still, there is a very large acceleration of infection in the United States and a few other European counties. The crises are way beyond control and far from over yet. There have been 1,400 cases of infection in India resulting in 38 deaths so far.
Warmer temperatures and humid conditions are considered mitigating the ill effects of coronavirus. The virus is believed to do better in colder weather than it does in hot and humid conditions. The heat and humidity at least slows down the spread of the virus, setting of typical summery conditions that have not taken place so far over North, Central and Eastern parts of the country.
Even South Peninsula is also relatively mild this season so far. The delayed-onset of summer is leaving anxious moments and increasing probability of sustenance of virus for longer durations.
A nationwide 3-week complete lockdown has been imposed till 14th April 2020. Strict measures are the only key to restrict spillage and the spread of the disease. The global health crises are rapidly morphing with a global recessing, as there is a clear tension between preventing infections and ruining the economy.
G20 countries including India, China, and the United States have decided to join hands to fight COVID- 19 with the aim to restore global growth, maintain market stability and strengthen resilience.
We are now shortly entering the month of April when the heat and thunderstorm will affect almost the entire country. However, this time the seasonality seems to be lagging by nearly 2 weeks or even more. A milestone of 40 degrees centigrade temperature which is easily reached at many locations by this time is missing. Only a freak location like Khargone in Madhya Pradesh has recorded 40 degrees for the last few days. The summer has been mild so far and further delay is foreseen.
The last week having spelled widespread rains in the Northern region is observing suppressed temperatures of both day and night. A fresh western disturbance is likely on March 30th itself and this will bring another round of rain and snow across the hills between 30th of March and 2nd of April 2020. Jammu & Kashmir is going to be the worst hit on 31st March and 1st April and Uttarakhand is going to be the least affected hilly state. Northern parts of Punjab and Haryana are likely to experience light to moderate rains and thundershowers on 31st March and 1st April. The second half of the week is going to stay dry. This will result in a rise in temperatures to the mid-30s in many places.
East & North east India
The states of Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal are going to be free from any significant weather activity for the entire week. This possibly will result in a rise in temperatures to high 30s in a few pockets. The second half of the week is going to drench North East India with intense rains and thundershowers. Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Meghalaya will possibly experience lighting strikes accompanied with strong winds.
Unseasonal weather activity over the central parts of the country does not seem to be ending soon. Gujarat, after experiencing a freak wet spell last week is going to stay completely dry this time. Day temperatures are going to shoot up to be in the high 30s in the interior parts. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Odisha will observe moderate thunderstorms with possible hailstorm at a few places on the 30th. This activity could be more intense over the interior parts of Odisha. April is going to start on a dry note for most parts and will remain so until the end of the week. Rising day temperatures are going to be of concern in this week.
Like the last week, the least weather activity is expected even during the current one also only northern parts of Telangana, which are contiguous to Vidarbha and Marathwada are likely to have light rains on the 30th and 31st March. A similar activity is expected over Kerala and south interior Karnataka (Belagavi, Hassan and Mandaya). The rest of the parts will remain dry for the entire week. Interior parts of Tamil Nadu, Rayalaseema, and North Interior Karnataka will face the risk of rising temperatures.
Least weather activity is expected over Delhi NCR. Bleak chance of having thundery development on 31st March and 1st April. The rest of the days are going to be bright and sunny. The day temperature may not exceed 35 degrees and therefore remain below normal.
Chennai is going to observe warms, humid and sultry weather throughout the week, a repeat of last week. The maximum temperature will be to the tune of 35 degrees and a minimum of around 25 degrees.
Footnote: the month of March has been the rainiest and 27th has been the rainiest day across the Northern parts. PAN India rainfall has been large excess of 57% in March.