Monsoon 2018 forecast: Met dept predicts normal rainfall, at 97% of LPA

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India Meteorological Department (IMD) issues operational forecast for the southwest monsoon seasonal (June to September) rainfall for the country as a whole in two stages. Unlike the IMD, Skymet had predicted a 100 per cent normal Monsoon, with an error estimate of plus-minus 5 per cent.

However another factor, called the Indian Ocean Dipole, which if "positive" helps the monsoon and will likely not aid the monsoon's case this year.

Forecast suggests maximum probability for normal rainfall and a low probability for deficient rainfall during the season.

Despite "normal" forecast, the monsoon can be affected by the El Niño conditions.

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A figure between 96 and 104 per cent of rainfall indicates a normal monsoon and between 105 and 110 per cent above normal.

The forecaster also said that there is nil possibility of a big nationwide drought or deficient rainfall when the total cumulative seasonal rainfall across the country falls below 90 per cent of LPA.

However, the arrival of the monsoon and its distribution would play an important part so far as the economy was concerned, experts said.

The IMD, however, will forecast the onset of monsoon in middle of next month. Last year, rainfall was close to normal at 95% of the LPA, while in 2016 rains were recorded at 97% of LPA. India receives 70% of its annual rainfall in the four-month period, which in turn irrigates over half of its farm lands lacking assured irrigation.

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