While everyone is glued to hear about likely heatwaves this month, which may not be as worrisome, India Meteorological Department hopes that there may be bountiful of monsoon rains in August this year due to La Nina, which if proved correct, will bring a big relief to the farmers. Last year, the rainfall in August was the lowest for the month since 1901 as the deficit was 36 per cent.

Since July has highest 32 per cent share in the June-September monsoon season in a normal year, a small deficit in August is manageable for the crops. However, agriculture experts also caution the negative impacts of heavy rainfall on crops as they say flood has been seen to bring more damage than a drought.

“After driest August in Maharashtra last year, there were reports of farmers using standing sugarcane crop for fodder. But, rains after September changed the entire situation and the State is now the top producer of sugar in the country this year,” said an industry expert.

Briefing media on the likely temperature and rainfall during May, India Meteorological Department’s Director General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra on Wednesday said that though 8-11 days heat wave days are expected over south Rajasthan, west Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha, Marathwada and Gujarat region, there may be 5-7 heatwave days remaining parts of Rajasthan, east Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and some parts of Chhattisgarh, interior Odisha, Gangetic West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar, north interior Karnataka and Telangana.

Heatwave forecast

Normally, northern plains, central India and adjoining areas of peninsular India experience around three days of heatwave in May.

According to IMD forecast, above normal maximum temperatures are likely to be seen over most parts of the country during May, except northeastern region, some parts of north-west and central India, where maximum temperatures may be normal to below normal.

Mohapatra said that the prolonged heatwave spell over east, south peninsular India in April was mainly due to the absence of thunderstorms and a persisting anticyclone at lower levels over the west central Bay of Bengal and the adjoining eastern coasts of India. This caused sea breeze to cut off over Odisha and West Bengal on most days, he added.

The IMD chief also said that south peninsular India recorded a maximum average temperature of 31 degree Celsius in April, which is the second highest for the month since 1901. The region recorded 12.6 mm of rainfall in April, which is the fifth lowest since 1901 and the second lowest since 2001.

Asked about the rise in maximum temperature, he said that the above normal maximum temperature is becoming frequent over south peninsular India after 1980s.

On the other hand, the minimum average temperature of 22 degrees Celsius in east and north-east region is also the highest since 1901, data show.