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Rains peep around the corner
- After week-long halt, wet winds move towards mainland

New Delhi, June 16: As a searing heat wave ravaged almost all of India, the weather office detected the first signs of monsoon winds making the crucial U-turn in the Bay of Bengal that will bring rain on the mainland.

After a week-long hiatus, the monsoon today advanced over the central and northern Bay of Bengal, and parts of the Northeast. Weather scientists expect increased rainfall along southwestern coastal areas and the northeastern states tomorrow.

After a late onset over Kerala, the monsoon hadn’t moved much for the past week. A giant zone of higher-than-normal air pressure hovering three kilometres above the central Indian plateau was one reason the monsoon didn’t budge from June 8 till today.

Scientists are also blaming a distant typhoon. A strong typhoon that had formed over the South China Sea dragged the monsoon wind flow across the Bay of Bengal all the way into the western Pacific region. In these circumstances, there could be no movement towards the mainland, meteorologists said.

There appears to be a switch in the tide now.

“The typhoon over the South China Sea has dissipated and the high-pressure zone over central India is weakening,” said M. Rajeevan, head of the monsoon forecasting division at the Indian Meteorological Division in Pune.

“The monsoon winds are strong and some atmospheric conditions along the west coast of India have also become more favourable for the movement of the monsoon over the mainland,” he said.

The monsoon winds move from the southwest towards the Bay of Bengal where they are expected to make a U-turn and head north and east to strike the mainland.

The first sign of this turn came today with monsoon rain touching the Northeast, B.K. Bandopadhyay, director of IMD’s northern hemisphere analysis centre in New Delhi, said.

The IMD declared today that the monsoon had advanced over parts of Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

However, a severe heat wave raged across parts of Orissa, Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

The IMD has forecast rain with isolated squall “at many places” in the northeastern states, sub-Himalayan Bengal and Sikkim tomorrow, and at “a few places” in Gangetic Bengal. The total rainfall this month across India until the end of last week was 54 per cent below normal.

Gangetic Bengal received only 27 mm rain until June 8 against a normal of 40 mm ' a 33 per cent departure.

But other parts of India had it much worse. Rainfall over Jharkhand was 82 per cent below normal, Bihar 57 per cent, Orissa 62 per cent and eastern Uttar Pradesh 88 per cent.

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