THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A phenomenon that has dried up lands all over South and Central America and Africa, and said to be strongest in two decades, has relentlessly kept summer showers away from the state. “The El Nino effect continues to be strong, effectively pre-empting cloud formations that cause summer rains,” said K Santhosh, Indian Meteorological Department (Trivandrum) director.
March has turned out to be one of the worst summer months in a decade in terms of summer showers. There is an overall deficiency of 30 percent in rainfall during the month. Nine of the 14 districts have recorded deficient rainfall.
Of this, Palakkad, Malappuram, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kasargod have recorded a deficiency of over 80 percent. Kasargod was the worst affected district, suffering a deficiency of 100 percent. In other words, the district had not received even isolated showers.
But there are glad tidings. “The latest forecast model predicts that the EL Nino will be neutralised by the end of May,” the IMD director said. This also means that the southwest monsoon could strike the Kerala coast on time. “The onset of the monsoon cannot be predicted at this stage. For this, we need to collect data up to April 15, and then do an analysis,” the director said.
Kottayam is the only district that has received more than normal rainfall during March. Kollam, Alappuzha and Pathanamthitta have recorded normal rainfall; these districts had received isolated heavy showers. However, the IMD director said that more summer showers could be expected by the middle of April. “The EL Nino effect is gradually waning, as the latest forecast model demonstrates,” Mr Santhosh said.
Signs of El Nino, like changes in surface-water temperatures and atmospheric pressure in the equatorial Pacific, were reported even early as February 2015. The World Meteorological Organization, in mid 2015, had declared that El Nino was in full swing and that it was on track to be the strongest such event since 1997-98.