Monday, March 19, 2018
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South Asia monsoon finally arrives

After a late start, pre-monsoon showers bring heavy rain to southern India, but the proper rains are yet to arrive.

The long wait for India's summer rains is almost over. The past two weeks have seen pre-monsoon showers bring heavy rain to parts of southern India, but the proper rains are yet to arrive.

According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the southwest­ monsoon has further advanced into some parts of the south Arabian Sea, Maldives, Comorin area and some more parts of southwest Bay of Bengal.

The southwest monsoon looks set to reach the coast of southern Kerala on Thursday, around a week behind schedule. The rains were due to arrive on June 1 before their normal progression across the rest of the country.

As yet, Port Blair in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is the only part of the country enjoying official monsoon rains.

The capital of South Andaman recorded 150mm in the 24 hours up to 06:00 GMT on Tuesday. That followed 59mm the previous day.

That represents around 60 percent of the 348mm normally recorded in the entire month of June.

The monsoon rainy season is about four months long, but is responsible for around 70 percent of India's annual rainfall, which is crucial for agriculture and economic growth.

Around two-thirds of India's 1.3 billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihood. Good rains boost rural demand for a range of products and are a key factor in determining expansion in the larger economy.

The IMD has stuck to its initial forecast for above average monsoon rains in 2016, boosting hopes for a revival in farm output which could translate into lower food prices and also lower interest rates.

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