The tercile category map shown the India Meteorological Department (IMD) outlook depicted most parts of Maharashtra in blue, the colour that signifies higher probability of above-normal rainfall.
An IMD official said normal to above-normal rainfall was most likely over most parts of central India (which includes Maharashtra) and the adjoining south peninsular and east India and some areas of northeast and northwest India this July. June ended with a 46% rainfall deficiency for Maharashtra, the lowest for the month in the state after 2014.
K S Hosalikar, head of the climate research and services, IMD, Pune, told TOI, “The outlook basically pertains to all-India July rainfall probabilities. It, however, also indicated that central India is likely to see normal to above-normal rainfall in July. Since the region also includes Maharashtra, the tercile categories in the outlook map show probability of normal to above-normal rain in July in many parts.”
Interior parts of Maha unlikely to see above-normal rain till July 10
H e said the extended range forecast issued by IMD on Thursday also showed good rainfall for central India, including Maharashtra, from July 7 to 13. “July rainfall is very important, especially in the backdrop of a deficient June. Hence, this is good news. Though we expect El Nino to continue during the remaining rainy season, there is also a possibility of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). This could offset the detrimental effects of El Nino to some extent. We need to keep a watch on these factors,” he said.
Hosalikar said farmers should take clear guidance and keep in touch with the respective agricultural universities on the types of crops to be sown and when to undertake such activities based on the available soil moisture and subsequent rainfall forecasts in their respective regions.
Dr Akshay Deoras, research scientist at the University of Reading, UK, who has been closely following monsoon in Maharashtra, said, “The forecast of above-normal rainfall over central and east-central parts of India by IMD suggests that there would be an enhanced activity of monsoon low-pressure systems during July that might feature a more southward track. The forecast also indicates a larger possibility of below normal rainfall across the foothills of the Himalayas, indicating that the monsoon can remain active over central India for a longer period.”
He added: “However, this needs to be taken with a pinch of salt since models generally have a significant error in predicting the intensity and location of low-pressure systems at large forecast lead times. If the forecast holds true, a significant intraseasonal variability can be expected, given that rainfall in interior parts of the state during the first 10 days of July is not expected to be significantly above normal.”
Dr Deoras added that after 1923 (20.5 mm) and 2014 (30.4 mm), the June 2023 rainfall in Marathwada (41.3 mm) has been the third lowest since 1901. He said 302 out of 353 talukas in Maharashtra have received at most 75% of the average rainfall in June 2023.