THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ and the ensuing heavy downpour seems to have had little impact on the northern districts of the state during the prevailing northeast monsoon season. Many northern districts such as Palakkad, Wayanad and Kasaragod had rainfall deficit ranging from 50- 60 per cent. Palakkad fared poorly in the rain chart with a deficit of around 60 per cent. While Wayanad received only half the expected rainfall, Kasaragod too registered a rain deficit of nearly 45 per cent.
However, the overall rainfall deficit in the state has come down to seven per cent. This was mainly on account of the heavy showers in the southern districts such as Pathanamthitta, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram owing to Cyclone ‘Ockhi’. Pathanamthitta recorded 50 per cent excess rainfall when compared to the normal. “ The weak easterly winds and absence of low-pressure area around the Chennai coast are the main reasons why northern Kerala received poor rainfall,” said S Sudevan, Director, Meteorological Centre, Thiruvananthapuram. Cyclone ‘Ockhi’, though, made up for the deficit in the southern districts, he added.
Fallout on farming
According to the experts, the poor northeast monsoon showers in districts like Wayanad will impact cash crops such as coffee and cardamom. It will also have an adverse impact on ‘puncha’ cultivation of rice in districts such as Palakkad. “Already, the mango plantations in Muhtalamada in Palakkad have felt the impact. For cash crops, summer showers in the months ahead will be pretty crucial,” said B Ajith Kumar, Head of the Department of Agricultural Meteorology, Kerala Agricultural University(KAU). “We may be poised for a situation akin to 2015 when we saw a bountiful southwest monsoon but a poor northeast monsoon, especially in northern Kerala. The year which followed had witnessed a severe drought,” he said.
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