We are getting into that time of the year when weather watchers start scanning the skies, not to speak the Internet and other resources on ground, for clues on evolving weather for a country whose fame as host (hostage?) to the largest monsoon weather system is too well chronicled.

After raising the spectre of a strong El Nino last year (but ending with a whimper), the equatorial Pacific is lying low for the moment, if indications from leading weather bureaus around the globe are any indication. El Nino is mostly feared for its monsoon-killer image, though not without exceptions when it has let the monsoon pass even while being at its raging best in the Pacific – true to the gloriously uncertain style the Elements are known to pan out in this part of the world.

So, the call is ‘neutral’ in the equatorial Pacific, which is the other way of saying there’s no sign of an El Nino or alter ego La Nina (mostly monsoon-friendly) developing at least into the spring of the New Year, 2013. At this stage, a ‘neutral’ Pacific could be the best thing that one could hope would bring about a desirable (no major deviations from normal, that is) monsoon. But it’s a long haul yet, and things could change any time, and one needs to keep a close watch as the northern hemisphere winter signs off in little over another month. Interestingly, early signals indicate that the coming summer could be harsh for Central India, especially western Maharashtra!