Monsoons have arrived early this year and that too in a deluge, throwing life out of gear in north India. Uttarakhand was the worst hit, with incessant rains followed by landslides and floods killing 10 people, according to officials, and washing away homes. Media reports put the death toll between 30 and 50. The state saw heavy rains of 220 mm on Sunday, causing rivers to swell well above the danger mark.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), heavy downpours are expected to continue in the state for another 48 hours. The Met department said the rains will become lighter from June 18 when the state will be out of the alert region. The whole country, except for Haryana, West Bengal and North-Eastern states, have received above average rainfall. Over the weekend, 28 per cent surplus rainfall for the country increased to 68 per cent, according to data released by the Met department. Out of 36 meteorological subdivisions, 27 have recorded excess rainfall and four have recorded normal. Haryana and West Bengal had deficient rain, while Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura have had scanty rains so far.
“Monsoon has hit the entire nation early by one month. It is by July 15 that all parts of India receive rains. This year that day came as early as June 15,” said Shailesh Nayak, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences. He said multiplicity of conditions have together created such a situation. “This year several things synchronised to lead to early monsoons,” he said.
In the initial phase, called the onset phase, monsoon hit Andaman and Kerala following the normal time and trend. “However, after that the combination of lower pressure in north-western region and movement of three types of winds led to monsoons hitting other parts of the country way before their normal time,” said an official in the Met department. Usually, monsoon sets in by June 1, while this time it arrived in the last week of May. It moved fast towards the north, without taking its characteristic break before hitting one region after the other.