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May 16, 2002 | 0745 IST
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Monsoon arrives in good time

Surinder Sud

The south-west monsoon, lifeline of the Indian agriculture, has arrived over the southern Andamans and Nicobar Islands, on schedule.

The atmospheric conditions in the Bay of Bengal are turning favourable for its further advance towards the mainland on or before June 1.

According to the India Meteorological Department, the monsoon current that has hit the southern Andamans and Nicobar Islands is "quite good".

Besides, a well-marked low-pressure trough is building up over the central Bay of Bengal, which may move towards the Indian mainland.

This is expected to cause welcome pre-monsoon showers in the rain-starved tracts in south India and elsewhere, besides creating conditions for the further progress of the monsoon.

IMD deputy director-general S R Kalsi said that the notorious El Nino - normally associated with drought and poor monsoon - was not causing any worry this year.

"The El Nino is far too weak this year, compared to 1997. Some signals of El Nino getting active were noticed earlier, but the whole thing is subsiding now," he said.

El Nino is a Spanish term, meaning "the Child Christ". It is used to describe ocean warming along the Peru Coast and in the Pacific Ocean of the equatorial region, around Christmas.

The data show there is no correlation between El Nino and the monsoon rains in India. There have been El Nino years with normal rainfall and drought years without El Nino.

Kalsi said the IMD was monitoring the global atmospheric developments and the data regarding 16 parameters used for predicting the performance of the southwest monsoon. The IMD would announce its long-range monsoon forecast on May 25, he said.

He pointed out rainfall had begun in areas under the influence of the pre-monsoon developments. Showers had been reported from parts of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal and even in Vidarbha, he said.

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