monsoon in india
monsoon in indiaReuters

Monsoon in Kerala is expected to be delayed by at least a week, beginning on June 7, instead of the earlier prediction of June 1, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The weather forecast model has an inbuilt error margin of four days, so monsoon in Kerala could descend anytime between June 4 and June 11.

A private weather forecasting company, Skymet, had said last week that monsoon in Kerala would set in between May 28 and 31. However, the IMD said on Sunday that due to the El Nino effect, which is decreasing but still strong, monsoon will be delayed in Kerala.

"The statistical model forecast suggests that the monsoon onset over Kerala in this year is likely to be slightly delayed. The southwest monsoon is likely to set in over Kerala on June 7," the IMD said in a press statement.

"The cooling of the Pacific waters has been better than expected and we expect the La Nina to set in slightly earlier around the second half of monsoon," Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences and Ocean Development, told the Hindu.

La Nina, the opposite of El Nino, and is expected to bring "above normal" rain to the subcontinent, the Hindu reported. The delayed rainfall would not affect the magnitude of the rainfall, a top official of IMD told the newspaper. 

"There is a lag in the seasonal transition. Usually there are cyclones in May and we haven't seen one so far," DS Pai, Chief forecaster, IMD, was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "Also, different models are showing different things and we are waiting and watching."

IMD will declare the expected rainfall distribution across the country between July and August in the first week of June. Skymet, last week, announced the date when monsoon would hit particular states. 

"We are not changing our forecast," Chief Meteorologist of Skymet Mahesh Palawat was quoted as saying by the Hindu, "because our model indicates consistent rain over Kerala beginning May 28. Also there have been instances in the past when IMD has declared monsoon even when some of their own parameters haven't been met. It's a subjective declaration."