Many parts of north-east India such as Assam, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Bihar and sub-Himalayan West Bengal have reported incessant rains – measuring above 20 centimetres (cm) in a day – since last Friday, triggering floods.
“Assam is reporting floods. Bihar is also in a flood-like situation. Cherrapunji, which is known to receive a lot of rainfall around this time of the year, has recorded up to 55 cm in a day. This pattern of continuous heavy rains will gradually reduce from Tuesday. While from Thursday, torrential rains will increase in central India and over the north-west parts of the country from next Sunday, ” said Dr. Mrutunjay Mohapatra, director-general, India Meteorological Department (IMD).
The eastern-end of the monsoon trough continues to run along the Himalayan foothills with the convergence of strong southerly and south-westerly winds from the Bay of Bengal over the north-east and eastern India.
This is likely to cause widespread and very heavy rain in many parts of north-east India in the next four-five days. There may be extremely heavy rain, measuring over 20 cm in a day, in the next 24 hours, according to IMD.
Heavy rains are expected in Bihar, eastern Uttar Pradesh, sub-Himalayan West Bengal and Sikkim during the next five days. Widespread rainfall is also expected over Madhya Pradesh for the next five days and over Chhattisgarh and the Vidarbha region on Monday and Tuesday.
There will be widespread rains in the west coast also this week, IMD said in its bulletin.
However, rains will be subdued over north-west India and the western Himalayas.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) has warned of an above-normal flood-like situation in Dharamtul, Brahmaputra, Dhubri, Goalpara and other parts of flood-prone Assam.
A severe flood-like situation is also likely in Assam’s Kopili and Kamrup.
The restoration operations at Baghjan gas well in Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district, which reported a blowout – an uncontrolled release of gas and oil – on May 27 and later caught fire on June 9,were hampered last week for at least three days because of inundation of low-lying areas, while the well continues to leak gas and oil condensate, according to an Oil India Limited (OIL) spokesperson.
The well is set to resume its operations gradually.
From June 1 to 28, Sikkim and sub-Himalayan West Bengal have received 56% rainfall, Bihar received 92% of excess rains, and Assam and Meghalaya received an excess of 34% of rains.
Monsoon this time covered the entire country on June 26 – a good 12 days in advance.
Usually, monsoon covers the country by July 8. But from last Friday an intense monsoon phase in the north-east and eastern India started.
Monsoon rains in the country are 20% excess of the long-period average (LPA) as of Sunday — 36% excess over central India; 8% excess over north-west India; 4% excess over southern peninsula and 20% excess over eastern and north-east India.
LPA is the average of rainfall received in the area over a 50-year period between 1961 and 2010, which is 88.06 cm.
IMD has predicted a normal monsoon this year at 102% of LPA.
A good monsoon, which accounts for 70% of India’s annual rainfall, is critical to the fortunes of the agricultural sector on which at least 700 million people are dependent for a livelihood. The monsoon is crucial for the yield of rice, wheat, sugarcane, and oilseeds in a country, where farming accounts for about 15% of the economy but employs over half of its population.