Two Lows That Threw Monsoon 2017 Off Balance

JUNE 17, 2017, SATURDAY 

Monsoon on the whole has been low key and disappointing so far this year. It is progressing but slowly and in an undramatic manner with lack of flooding rains so characteristic of the usual rainy season.

This is largely because of two low pressure areas, one each in the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal.

System number 1. After covering Kerala and parts of coastal Karnataka before its scheduled arrival, massive thunderstorms gathered near the coast of Goa in early June. One was hoping for a deluge in Goa, Konkan and Mumbai in the following days. Instead a cyclonic circulation developed in the Arabian Sea which later intensified into a well marked low pressure area. This system sucked in the available energy of the monsoon flows and wandered off to the area near coast of central Oman. It hovered around for a few days and then dissipated. This decimated any chance of a bumper monsoon in Mumbai, Gujarat, Rajasthan. Mumbai had a tame monsoon arrival, Gujarat, Rajasthan stew in dry heat with no rains.

System number 2. There were high hopes when a cyclonic circulation formed in the Bay of Bengal  at the same time off the Andhra coast. The European model ECMWF predicted the low would move through Odisha, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand onto Bihar, Uttar Pradesh. There were hopes monsoon would reach eastern and central India. But the system unexpectedly intensified into a deep depression and slammed into Bangladesh and then flooded Indian northeastern states. Monsoon thus went astray once again.

It is taking time for a revival. Monsoon activity at present is at a low ebb. It is struggling to enter Bihar and Jharkhand. Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh still wait patiently.

Hopefully rainfall activity is expected to increase on the west coast. Konkan, Mumbai await heavy showers from June 22-23.

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