Above normal Feb temp, rainfall: IMD

The monthly rainfall over the country as whole during February is most likely to be above normal, more than 119% of Long Period Average, even as the minimum and maximum temperatures during the month are likely to be above normal, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Wednesday.

The rainfall and temperature during this period are very crucial for the rabi crops, especially wheat, which has suffered yield loss for the last two years. In 2022, an early heatwave caused wheat to shrivel reducing the production as well as lowering its quality while in 2023, heavy rainfall during the month caused lodging of the crop.

The strong El Nino conditions prevailing over the Equatorial Pacific are likely to continue during February and weaken steadily and turn to ENSO neutral conditions by the April-June period, the weather office said.

At present, positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions persist over the Indian Ocean, weaken of turning to neutral in the next 1-2 months, the IMD said.

India witnessed a rainfall deficiency of 58% in January leaving most parts of the country extremely dry, with drought- like conditions in the northern region, raising concerns about the production of horticulture crops and spices.

North India consisting of seven meteorological subdivisions – East Uttar Pradesh, West Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh – which receives about 18% of its annual rainfall during the period of January to March.

J&K, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttarakhand witnessed rainfall deficiency of over 90% each in January, according to IMD.

IMD’s forecast also suggests that normal to above normal rainfall is likely over most parts of northeast, central India and northwest India while below normal rainfall is likely over most parts of south peninsular India in February.

In February, IMD has predicted above normal over most parts of the northwest India, west central India and northeast India, and some parts of east central India, normal to below-normal maximum temperatures are likely in most parts of peninsular India and some parts of east central India and isolated pockets over northeast India.

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Roy Walsh

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