Weathermen predict normal monsoon

- Post Report, Kathmandu
World meteorologists and scientists have predicted a normal monsoon for Nepal this year due to the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon, raising hopes of good rains

May 11, 2016-The upcoming monsoon season expected to start in mid-June is likely to be a huge relief for drought-stricken Nepali farmers who faced disappointing summer and winter harvests this fiscal year. 

World meteorologists and scientists have predicted a normal monsoon for Nepal this year due to the weakening of the El Nino phenomenon, raising hopes of good rains. 

The first pre-monsoon rains which fell across the country in the first week of May are considered to benefit the preparation of summer crops such as paddy and vegetables in the Tarai region and maize in the hills. 

“The rains are a relief for farmers hit by one of the worst droughts in the century,” said Yubak Dhoj GC, director general of the Department of Agriculture. The pre-monsoon rains which started last week will benefit the wheat crops that are still to be harvested in many places besides spring crops like maize and vegetables. 

In addition, the rains will be crucial for timely sowing of paddy, the major summer crop in the country. “The moisture present from the rainfall will help to prepare nursery beds for sowing paddy in many Tarai districts,” he said. 

According to the findings of the South Asian Climate Outlook Forum (SASCOF) conference held in Colombo last month, Nepal’s mid- and far western Tarai districts along with a few western hilly districts are likely to get above normal rainfall, while the remaining parts, except a few Tarai and hilly districts in the far eastern region, are set to receive normal rains between June and September this year.

The pre-monsoon phase during May is getting active due to the influence of a low pressure system which developed in the Bay of Bengal along with a local disturbance. Many places in the western and central regions, including the mid-hills and mountains, received scattered to moderate rains in the past few days. 

The rainfall witnessed on Tuesday across the country, with some places receiving heavy rains, is expected to enhance the moisture content in the parched farmlands to some extent. 

Among the 20 meteorological stations updated by the Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD), Taplejung received the highest rainfall measuring 23.4 millimetres on Tuesday, followed by Nepalgunj, Dang and Dhangadhi with 17.4, 15.1 and 11.5 millimetres respectively. 

“Rainfall activity with chances of heavy rains in one or two places will continue until Thursday morning,” said Shanta Kandel, meteorologist at the MFD. 

The country witnessed two straight years of drought that hit both winter and summer crops affecting economic growth. Last year’s summer paddy output fell more than 10 percent while the winter crop output, particularly wheat, is expected to drop by double digits. 

Last monsoon, the country received 76 percent of the average rainfall while in the previous year the figure was 94 percent, resulting in a drought-like situation in many parts.


Published: 11-05-2016 08:58

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