KOCHI: The southwest monsoon has covered most parts of Sri Lanka and is all set to arrive in Kerala within the next couple of days. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement on Friday that “conditions are likely to become favourable for the onset of southwest monsoon over Kerala around May 31.”
However, monsoon will not be active during the initial days. The IMD has forecast below normal rainfall in Kerala till June 3. South Kerala districts from Thiruvananthapuram to Kottayam will receive normal to above normal rainfall from June 3 to 10 while the rainfall will be below normal in North Kerala districts.
"Below normal rainfall does not mean no rainfall. There will be light showers in the morning. Formation of a low pressure area in the Bay of Bengal may strengthen the monsoon," said IMD former director S Sudevan.
Kerala has witnessed a change in the monsoon pattern during the last decade, said Cusat Department of Atmospheric Science associate professor S Abhilash. "While we used to get heavy rainfall during the June-July period, the rainy days have now shifted to August - September. Another feature is the formation of cyclones during the onset of monsoon. Cyclone Vayu in 2019 June and Cyclone Nisarga in 2020 June adversely affected the progress of monsoon. This year it was Cyclone Tauktae. The warming of Arabian sea has contributed to the climate change," he said.
Meanwhile Kerala has received a large excess of 125 per cent rainfall during the pre-monsoon period. This had caused fears that heavy rainfall during the onset of monsoon could trigger floods. The rainfall was 64 per cent excess in March and 21 per cent excess in April. The state received 732.8 mm rainfall from March to May 28 as against normal rainfall of 326.2 mm.
Allaying fears of release of water from large dams, KSEB chairman N S Pillai said there is only 40 per cent storage in these dams. "The crest level of Idukki dam is 2,373ft and the water level on Friday stood at 2338.98ft. So the water level has to rise 34ft to open the spillway. We don't see possibility of release of water even if it rains heavily for a few days. Water is being released from small dams like Moozhiyar (capacity 1.6 MCM), Kallarkutty (6 MCM) and Lower Periyar (5 MCM)," he said.