Kochi | While the country saw the lowest August rainfall in a century, Kerala, the starting point of the southwest monsoon, has had a nearly 50 per cent drop as at the end of August. Over the three months of the monsoon that started in June, Kerala received a total rainfall of 914.3 mm as against a normal of 1,759 mm, recording a 48 per cent deficiency, according to the data from the Indian Meteorological Department.
According to IMD, rainfall in August in the country was deficient by 10 per cent. In Kerala, it was 87 per cent with a total rainfall of just 59.6 mm as against a normal of 445.2 mm.
With sowing season affected as paddy fields have gone parched and other agricultural produce getting withered away in the wake of intense heat and reservoirs having water at storage levels of 30-50 per cent, the future looks bleak, according to climatologists.
It was in 2005 that the country had a 25 per cent deficit in August rainfall. In 2009, the August rainfall deficiency was 24 per cent and the country faced a severe drought.
Kerala during this monsoon season has witnessed increased break days or extended rainless stretches which has resulted in waterbodies and farmlands going dry. Even the rainfall patches have not been intense to counter these break days.
Climatologists attribute this to the El Nino effect of the warming of the central Pacific Ocean which results in lower rainfall in India. Besides, there have not been rain-favourable conditions in the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal or the Indian Ocean this season.
Hopes are now pinned on the post-monsoon rainfall or northeast rains which generally should be good under the El Nino effect. However, climatologists also point to 2016 when both the monsoons were deficient and Kerala witnessed a drought.
It is not just agriculture that gets affected, but also power generation as most of the dams are way down in storage. In the wake of the heat index going up substantially, water bodies are drying up which will reflect in lower groundwater levels.
Seven of the 14 districts have at least 50 per cent deficiency and the rest are in the 30-45 per cent range. Idukki, the store house of dams in the State, has remained 62 per cent deficient, the highest in the State.
District Actual Normal Deviation
(mm) (mm) %
Kasargod 1728.3 2588.3 -33
Kannur 1572.2 2261.4 -33
Wayanad 923.1 2214.8 -58
Kozhikode 991.5 2285.5 -57
Malappuram 874.3 1713.4 -49
Palakkad 623.8 1359 -54
Thrissur 889.3 1853 -52
Ernakulam 1042.3 1809.5 -42
Idukki 836.3 2285.7 -62
Alappuzha 928.5 1381.2 -28
Kottayam 768.2 1622 -53
Pathanamthitta 864 1331.7 -35
Kollam 664.8 1040.3 -36
T’puram 367.5 671.9 -45