India monsoon rains to arrive late, hit Kerala on June 4, weather office says

Mumbai (Reuters) – India’s monsoon rains, the lifeblood of the country’s economy, are likely to be delayed in 2023 and are forecast to hit the Kerala coast in the southwest on June 4, the state-run weather office said on Tuesday.

The monsoon, the lifeblood of the country’s $3 trillion economy, delivers nearly 70 percent of the rain that India needs to water farms and recharge reservoirs and aquifers. Nearly half of India’s farmland, without any irrigation cover, depends on annual June-September rains to grow a number of crops.

This year, the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala is likely to be slightly delayed. The monsoon onset over Kerala is likely to be on June 4, with a model error of plus/minus 4 days, the India Meteorological Department said.

Rains usually lash Kerala state around June 1 and cover the whole country by mid-July. Timely rains trigger planting of crops such as rice, soybeans and cotton.

The emergence of the El Nino weather pattern has raised concerns over monsoon rainfall in 2023.