CAR NICOBAR, India (AFP) - India's annual summer monsoon has arrived in the
Andamans archipelago, bringing misery to homeless tsunami victims but cheer to
the rest of the parched nation.
The monsoon arrived Wednesday, two days ahead of schedule, in the southern island group of Car Nicobar and was expected to hit the archipelago's Port Blair capital later Thursday, said weather office spokesman B.D. Gupta in the Andamans.
"The monsoon struck Nicobar two days ahead of schedule and is expected to reach the eastern Indian state of Orissa by June 10," Gupta said.
June 1 is the scheduled date for the onset of the monsoon in India's southernmost state of Kerala and it takes around 28 days for the rains to reach agriculture-dependent India's parched northern plains.
Naval metereologist Commander Salil Mehta reported 69 millimetres (2.76 inches) of rain Wednesday in the Nicobar group.
"The rainfall is heavy, sea conditions are bad and upper wind speeds have picked up from 10 knots to up to 30 knots (40 kilometres) per hour," he said, adding the conditions were in line with the onset of the annual summer monsoon.
The deluge brought distress for thousands living in temporary shelters built after the December 2004 tsunami battered the emerald-green archipelago.
"These are flimsy tin shelters and many of these don't even have proper floorings and this kind of rain brings in a sea of water into our homes," said Martin, a Nicobarese tribesman from Moos village.
"Added to the rains comes a variety of diseases for which the authorities are not prepared," added Aiysha Majid, chief of a nearby village.
Nicobar administrator Ranjit Singh said the situation was under control.
"The monsoon is here but such heavy rain is nothing unusual in these parts and since the shelters are in place we're not worried at all," Singh told AFP.
Indian authorities built 2,542 temporary shelters housing some 6,851 families in the island chains of Nicobar, Kamorta and Katchal that were devastated by the towering tsunami.
India's monsoon rains may be weaker than normal this year, the weather office warned in April.
The advance of the rains are keenly watched as two-thirds of India's billion-plus population earn their livelihood from agriculture, which generates a quarter of gross domestic product.
The monsoon, which accounts for about 80 percent of India's annual rainfall, sweeps the subcontinent from June to September.
MUMBAI: Monsoon set over Mumbai as torrential rains lashed the city since on Tuesday night,
leaving six persons injured in two mishaps, while the Meteorological department has predicted
heavy to very heavy rains in the region in the next 48 hours.
Three persons were injured in lightning while three others were injured in a wall collapse, police said.
Several trees were uprooted and power supply was disrupted at various places due to the rains and strong winds in the city and the suburbs, Fire Brigade sources said.
Several homes at Parksite near Vikhroli in north-east Mumbai were inundated as a drainage line got choked, they said.
According to Deputy Director (Meteorology), Dr C V V Bhadran, Monsoon has set over Mumbai, parts of coastal Konkan and south-central Maharashtra. Monsoon has hit Mumbai, Pune, Solapur and areas of north interior Karnataka, he said.
"Konkan and central Maharashtra have experienced widespread rainfall in the past 24 hours, and we expect heavy to very heavy rains in the Konkan region, particularly coastal areas like Mumbai, Thane, Raigad and Ratnagiri," the Met official said.
The Met official said that there will also be scattered rains over Marathwada, while monsoon was yet to set in over Vidarbha and central India.
With heavy rains lashing the city and the coastal Konkan last night, Ratnagiri recorded the highest 64 cm rains, while the Colaba meteorology office in south Mumbai recorded 13 cm rain, and the Santacruz office recording five cm rain.
Train services were affected on the Konkan Railway section areas as several trains were left stranded at various places on Tuesday.
GENEVA, (Reuters) - Neither El Nino nor La Nina is expected in coming months in the
central and eastern equatorial Pacific, where current conditions
are neutral, the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said on Tuesday.
The United Nations agency said that neutral conditions were likely to contnue to prevail in the basin to the end of 2006, although there was a "small risk" that El Nino would develop in the latter part of the year.
An El Nino event can have devastating climatic effects and occurs when sea surface temperatures rise substantially.
But current conditions are neutral in the central and eastern Pacific, with "no rapid changes toward El Nino or La Nina expected over the next few months", the WMO said.
"There is, however, a small likelihood of El Nino development in the latter part of the year, and an even lesser likelihood that a La Nina may develop," it added.
"So it is neither too hot not too cold, and basically that means there is no major driver there in that region for the global climate," WMO spokesman Mark Oliver told a news briefing.
"This means that any sort of changes that happen will be regional or local -- they won't be attributable to either of those two phenomena," he added.
The Geneva-based WMO, which in March announced that cool sea surface temperautres pointed to a La Nina phenomenon, said on Tuesday the conditions had not led to a basin-wide La Nina.
"Nonetheless, these cool conditions, combined with warmer than normal waters in the western equatorial Pacific, likely played a role in unusual climate patterns across the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and surrounding continental regions, up to and around April this year," it said.
NEW DELHI, India (AFP) - Indian officials have predicted that bountiful
monsoon rains would yield bumper crops, even as downpours tormented
thousands and flooded large swathes of the country's two wealthiest
The western state of Maharashtra evacuated 65,000 flood-hit people from 35 villages in the southern district of Sangli, the United News of India reported.
Four Sangli villages were cut off while rescuers using rowboats overnight evacuated another 2,500 marooned people from the inundated central Satara district, it said.
In adjoining Gujarat state, authorities evacuated 70,000 people from six flood-hit districts, said D.A. Satya director of relief operations.
Torrential rain has killed 15 people since Friday and forced the closure of 150 Gujarat motorways since then, he said as meteorologists warned the torrent would not let up until Tuesday.
Eighty students have been marooned in their high school in Vadodra district since the weekend, local administrator Chandu Patel said.
The latest deaths take to nearly 50 the number of people killed in rain-related accidents in Gujarat since June when the monsoon slammed into India's west coast. The national monsoon toll has exceeded 300 according to one official count.
State authorities warned that 38 brimming reservoirs, including Gujarat's two largest dams in the districts of Bhavnagar and Rajkot, were overflowing.
The national policy-making Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI), however, said the floods were unlikely to affect an anticipated bumper harvest of summer crops as the rains are now covering all of agriculture-dependent India.
"Such floods are not uncommon at this time of the year in Gujarat and Mahrashtra and the rains are not expected to come in the way of our anticipation of a good khariff (monsoon) crop," IARI's principal scientist N. V. K. Chakravarty told AFP.
Chakravarty said the delayed monsoon rains have washed away fears of a shortfall in production in India, where two thirds of people live off farming.
"The recent rains prospects are pretty good specially for crops such as rice, maize cereals, cotton and jute which is planted in July.
"If the monsoon maintains its present trend in August and September then the wheat output will also be very high due to formation of rich moisture and good water reservoir positions," he said.
"It's too early to say but the rainfall pattern so far has raised hopes of bountiful wheat production this winter," he said, while also predicting a robust yield in oilseeds in the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnakata and Andhra Pradesh.
The IARI chief scientist also said the soggy conditions were healthy for vegetable production.
"Today, the farmers are well equipped to handle pests so such condition will prove to be a blessing," Chakravarty said.
India says a bountiful monsoon would further spur Asia's fourth largest economy, which is clipping ahead at a brisk 8.1 percent annual growth.
According to the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting, rainfall during the peak season between June 1 and July 19 was normal in 23 of India's 36 meteorological zones, in excess in one and patchy in 12.
BANGLADESH, Reuters (ABC) - A rare drought in the middle of the monsoon season is threatening crops
that account for up to a third of the country's staple rice output, especially
in the north.
Scant rainfall, falling river levels and lack of irrigation have left farmlands barren or sparsely planted, officials said on Wednesday.
Villagers, many too poor to buy irrigation pumps or pay for fuel, were now praying for showers, which weather officials say are unlikely to occur aplenty soon.
Agriculture officials said most lands ready for planting so-called Aman rice would remain uncultivated unless adequate rains fell in the next week or so.
Aman accounts for nearly a third of Bangladesh's annual rice production of 26 million metric tons or more, officials said. Rice is the main staple for Bangladesh's 140 million people.
The monsoon season lasts from June to September in Bangladesh. Rainfall recorded in July this year in the northern Rajshahi division totaled 189 millimeters against 396 a year ago, weather officials said.
They said rainfall across the rest of the country was also down compared with the last monsoon, threatening farming, navigation and fishing and the environment.
"It looks like we are facing a near-drought condition in the middle of the monsoon ...this is quite unusual and threatening people's living," said Abdus Sattar, a meteorologist in Rajshahi, 270 km (160 miles) from the capital Dhaka.
Farmers said they were unable to irrigate their land because they lacked pumps or were unable to pay for the fuel they would need. They also now faced a shortage of fertilizer.
"A small patch of land where I planted Aman is now cracking under blazing sun. And I could not manage fertilizer to keep the plants green," farmer Abdur Rahim said.
The Padma river, which often bursts its banks during the monsoon, flooding hundreds of villages and displacing thousands of families, was now flowing far below its normal level for the time of the year.
People wade through a flooded road in Bhalada village, about 80 km
(50 miles) south from the western Indian city of Ahmedabad August 1,
2006. Across India, more than 250 people have died since the start
of the annual monsoon rains in June.
Heavy rains batter Gujarat again
AHMEDABAD : [1 Aug, 2006 1022hrs IST PTI, Times of India, 5 Aug 2006]: After a brief respite, heavy rains once again started pounding Gujarat on Tuesday even as 55,000 people were shifted by the authorities to safer places.
Meanwhile, over 100 children were lying trapped in a school in Bharwada village of Kheda district for the past four days and the IAF was planning to deploy a helicopter to rescue them, official sources said.
The children have taken shelter at the top floor of the building due to rising water level, they said.
The rescue operation was to begin early Tuesday morning but was delayed due to bad weather, which made it difficult for the helicopters to take off, they said.
water, water everywhere : Heavy rains lashed Hyderabad for the past two days
causing inconvenience to commuters
A huge tree is uprooted in Hyderabad due to heavy rains
HYDERABAD: The airport at Visakhapatnam was flooded following heavy rains, prompting the authorities to cancel about half-a-dozen flights for the second day on Saturday.
The runway was under one feet deep water while power supply to the airport was disrupted following incessant rains. The cancellation of air services to and from the steel city brought back the memories of similar disruption when the airport was closed for 15 days in October last year.
State Information Minister Mohammad Ali Shabbir said 600 villages, most of them in coastal districts of Srikakulam, Vizianagarm and Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari, were affected by heavy rains.
Director of the Hyderabad Weather Office M Satyakumar said that heavy rains were likely to lash Telangana districts of Khammam, Warangal and Karimnagar over the next two days while incessant rains in the city would continue for another day.
In Vijayawada, 60 of the 130 farmers marooned in four villages-- Poonavali, Kasarabala, Ganiathuru, Ramannapeta --have been rescued and two boats have been pressed into service, District Collector Naveen Mittal said.
Power supply was affected in many villages in Srikakulam district where Vamsadhara and Nagavali rivers were in spate following heavy rains in the upper reaches in neighbouring Orissa. As many as 238 villages were affected in the district while 1,500 families had been shifted to safer places.
Many trains on Eastern Railway section were running behind schedule as rainwater inundated tracks near Palasa. Services on Kothavalasa-Kirandul were affected as boulders fell on the tracks, sources said.