Southwest Monsoon to reach Kerala around May 31

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New Delhi, May 15 (PTI) Southwest Monsoon is likely to arrive over Kerala around May 31, setting the stage for the four-month rainfall season crucial for India's farm-based economy.

"This year, the Southwest Monsoon is likely to set over Kerala on May 31 with a model error of four days," the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday.

"This is not early. It's near normal date as the normal date for onset of monsoon over Kerala is June 1," IMD Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said on Wednesday.

Last month, the IMD had forecast above-normal rainfall during the June-September Southwest Monsoon season.

June and July are considered the most important monsoon months for agriculture as most of the sowing for the Kharif crop takes place in this period.

One of the two factors favouring plentiful rain was a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), or a cooler than normal Indian Ocean in the east as compared to the west, which again helps bring rain to several States in southern India.

The IOD is currently 'neutral' and is expected to turn positive by August.

Another factor was a below-normal snow cover in the northern hemisphere and Eurasia. Historically, there was an "inverse relationship" between the levels of snow here and the monsoon, Mohapatra had said last month. PTI SKU RT RT