Kolkata: The 'driest' month over a decade

  • | Tuesday | 2nd July, 2019

Kolkata received just 94.2mm rain last month against a normal of 299.1mm.

KOLKATA: This June has been the driest in Kolkata and Gangetic Bengal in at least a decade and a half with a wide rain deficit that may persist in July as well, fear weathermen.

While Kolkata clocked a 69% shortfall, Gangetic Bengal ended last month with an arrear of 59%.Slow-moving and inactive monsoon currents are being held responsible for the parched beginning to the rainy season that has spawned insufficient rain across the country with the national deficit touching 33% for June.

Kolkata received just 94.2mm rain last month against a normal of 299.1mm.“Monsoon is driven by low-pressures and depressions that trigger heavy showers and keep the rain count ticking. This time, our region has had just one low-pressure so far, which remains active but has caused little rain in Kolkata and south Bengal. In June, Kolkata usually receives two-three heavy spells of rain but there was none last month. We need at least two-three heavy spells this month to reach the normal mark for July, but that may not be enough to wipe out the seasonal deficit,” said Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) director GK Das. Gangetic Bengal received 109.1mm rain in June while the normal is 265.3mm.

 Monsoon set in more than 10 days behind schedule in Gangetic Bengal last month. It was stalled by the impact of cyclone Vayu that hit the Gujarat coast and sucked out moisture from the monsoon currents rendering them weak and inactive. Even after the currents started moving, systems were absent.

“There were a few locally generated thunderstorms that failed to generate heavy showers. On the last day of the month, a low-pressure was formed over northeast Bay of Bengal but south Bengal didn’t feature in its impact area. Odisha will receive intense rain and the system is now set to move inland towards Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh and help to revive monsoon activity in those states. Unfortunately, Kolkata or south Bengal has not been benefited much,” added Das.

The worrying news for Kolkata is that the city will not receive more than 10 mm to 20mm rain in the next four-five days. Meteorologists fear that the wait for a heavy spell may be further extended since there is yet no rain-major triggering system in the region.

 “We may receive sporadic drizzles but an intense spell is not on the radar. July-August is the peak monsoon period and the normal count is high. So, unless the city is lashed by multiple heavy spells, the deficit won’t be wiped out,” said Das.

In 2017, Kolkata had a 14% June rain deficit while south Bengal was in arrears by 21%. While the city received 419 mm rain in June 2018 (51% excess), south Bengal still had a 16% deficit. In June, 2016, the city had a 53% shortfall, which is the highest in recent years.While the city receives moderate rain in June – the first monsoon month – it has been exceptionally dry in recent years. Last year, the month had begun on a dry note till the monsoon currents started moving and a cyclonic circulation struck.

 The two combined to generate 162.6mm rain on June 26, which was the highest in the month in a decade. It helped to offset the deficit that had been created by the stalling of monsoon currents.“But this time, the chances of the deficit being wiped out seem low,” said Das.

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