Agriculture · Disasters · Rainfall

44% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019 creates hopes for Rabi, Disaster for Kharif crops at many places

The Oct 2019 rainfall all over India was 109.7 mm, 44% above normal expected rainfall of 76 mm, following 53% above normal in Sept 2019. The rainfall this month has been unusual and has had some major impacts. One of the reasons has been that the SW monsoon withdrawal continued well into Oct 2019, when it almost always gets over by the end of Sept. There were also several cyclonic circulations and depressions mostly from Arabian sea.

The media talked positively about the rainfall in Oct 2019, saying it solved drinking water problems for districts like Latur in Marathwada. It was also rightly seen as creating hopes for Winter (Rabi) crop all over India. But the surplus hydrology created a disaster for agriculture not only in most of Marathwada, but also in most of Maharashtra and neighbouring areas like North Karnataka. For the rainfed farmers of Marathwada, this was like double whammy, as the Kharif (monsoon) crop was already below normal due to huge deficits in rainfall in June and July 2019.

It is well known that among the distressed farmer communities of India, rainfed farmers are worse off compared to farmers having irrigation benefits. Even among rainfed farmers, the rainfed farmers of Marathwada are worse off and now they are facing additional major disaster. The Maharashtra politicians are busy fighting for plum posts in government formation post assembly elections, and have no time for the suffering farmers. As Ashok Pawar, a farmer from Osmanabad told SANDRP, even the insurance companies are not responding to their calls. It was only late in the evening of Oct 31, 2019, possibly after media reports, that the collector Deepa Mudhol Munde ordered assessment of the crop damage in the district, Pawar said. Let us hope the state administration ensures that the farmers get proper compensation for the damages in time.

Sub Division wise rainfall As can be seen from the IMD map for sub division wise rainfall for Oct 2019, out of 36 sub divisions, 16 received Large Surplus (more than 60% surplus rainfall), 6 sub divisions experienced surplus rainfall (20-59% above normal rainfall), 5 had normal rainfall (+19 to -19% rainfall) and six sub divisions faced deficit rainfall, which means the rainfall was over 20% below normal. Gujarat region had the highest surplus (280%), Coastal Karnataka had one of the highest sub-divisional rainfall (520 mm, 180% surplus); Kerala and Mahe also had high rainfall at 470 mm (55% above normal). Western UP had the highest deficit at 58%. The Northern Indian sub-division of “Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi” had the lowest rainfall at 5.3 mm, which was 47% below Long Period Average (LPA) for the sub-division. Punjab had just 9.1 mm rainfall, though 2% above normal.

River Basin wise rainfall IMD (India Meteorological Department) also reports river basin wise rainfall, but as we noted earlier, this needs to be reported with greater rigour. For example, for Oct 2019, the IMD’s River Basin wise rainfall map shows No rain in “Vaippar and Pamba” and also “Imphal & Others” sub basins. This is clearly impossible to accept. The map also has no rainfall figures for four more sub basins: Jhelum, Upper Indus, Beas and Upper Tungabhadra. Among the reported sub basins, Sabarmati has the highest surplus (389%, 90.6 mm) rainfall, West Flowing Rivers South of Tapi has reported highest quanrum of rainfall at 344.1 mm (88% above normal). Ghaghra sub basin has the lowest rainfall at 5.1 mm and highest deficit of 91%, Lower Sutlej & Ravi sub basins also report low rainfall of 9.4 mm. Weinganga sub basin, with rainfall of 44.3 mm and deficit of 23%, seemed to the only sub basin in red (showing deficit over 20%) surrounded by mostly light blue (surplus rainfall) or deep blue (Large Surplus rainfall).

State wise rainfall Among the 36 states and Union Territories (UTs), 11 reported large Surplus, 7 reported Surplus, 7 reported Normal, 10 reported deficit and one (Chandigarh) reported Large Deficit, with rainfall of just 0.3 mm, 99% below LPA. Lakshdweep reported the highest susplus % at 271% and rainfall of 527.7 mm, out of which 209.9 mm fell on just one day, on Oct 31, 2019. Goa reported higher rainfall at 547.7 mm, which is 259% above LPA.

District wise rainfall In what follows, we provide the state wise maps that show figures of district wise rainfall departure from normal for some of the key states.

NORTH INDIA covers Jammu & Kashmiar (including Leh-Ladakh), Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.

Jammu & Kashmir Out of 22 districts of the state, the map provides information for just eight districts! The rainfall tables from IMD provides more information, but shows ZERO rainfall for two districts: Leh-Ladakh and Shopian. In addition, for two districts there is no rainfall figures reported: Kistwar and Ganderbal. Among the rest, highest rainfall is reported for Samba: 49.5 mm and it also has the highest surplus figure of 85%. Only three districts show surplus rainfall: Anantnag and Rajouri besides Samba.

Uttarakhand With 32 mm rainfall, the state experienced 9% below normal rain. Nainital (67.8 mm, 52% above normal) had the highest rainfall among 13 districts of the state, while Almora had the highest surplus at 60%. Neighboring Champawat had the lowest rainfall (2.5mm) and highest deficit (-96%).

Himachal Pradesh Among the 12 districts of Himachal Pradesh, Bilaspur reported the highest rainfall (42.7 mm) and highest surplus (107%). Lahaul and Spiti had no rainfall during the month, as per IMD.

Punjab Out of 20 districts of Punjab, Barnala has the highest rainfall of 39 mm, with massive surplus figure of 636%. Three districts report no rainfall: SAS Nagar, Jalandhar (possibly had below 0.1 mm rainfall) and Fatehgarh Sahib.

Haryana, Chandigarh & Delhi Haryana (5 mm), Chandigarh (0.3 mm) and Delhi (13.5 mm) show negligible rainfall during the month.

Uttar Pradesh Out of 42 districts of East UP, four districts reported ZERO rainfall, similarly out of 32 districts of West UP, 13 reported zero rainfall. Chitrakoot district, with 120 mm rainfall, had the highest rainfall and highest surplus (314%) among the 75 districts of UP. In West UP, Hamirpur had the highest rainfall of 51.5 mm and highest surplus of 96%.

EAST INDIA covers Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh and W Bengal.

Bihar The state with 38 districts experienced 59% below normal rainfall at 25.5 mm. Banka district had highest rainfall (118.9 mm) and the highest surplus (57 %). Bhabua and Jamui were the only other two districts with rainfall being above normal. Sheohar with 0.4 mm had the lowest rainfall. In general, Southern districts had better rainfall than the Northern half of the state.

Jharkhand The state with 24 districts had 78% above normal rainfall at 132.8 mm, as against the huge deficit rainfall of its northern neighbour Bihar. Like Bihar, Southern districts had better rainfall than northern districts. East Singbhum had the highest rainfall (246.2 mm) and highest surplus (237%) among all the districts of the state. Strangely, IMD has no rainfall figures for Sahibranj, the north east corner district of the state. Chatra (28.5 mm) had the lowest rainfall among districts of the state, eight districts had below 100 mm rainfall.

Chhattisgarh The state had 100.3 mm rainfall, 69% above normal during October 2019. Narayanpur had the highest rainfall (235.4 mm) and highest surplus (218%) among the 27 districts of the state. Kabirdham (listed as Kawardha in the map) had the lowest rainfall (27.1 mm) and highest deficit (-55%).

Odisha The state had 176.1 mm rainfall during the month, which was 76% above normal. Of the 30 districts of the state, the coastal district of Puri had the highest rainfall at 355.9 mm and Sundargarh had the highest surplus of 226%. Bolangir had the lowest rainfall at 47.6 mm and highest deficit at 27%.

W Bengal The W Bengal state received 163.7 mm rainfall, 24% above normal rains in Oct 2019. Of the 19 districts of state, the 6 in Sub Himalayan region had deficit rainfall with the exception of Malda which had 196 mm rains, 62% above normal. Of the remaining 13 districts in Gangetic region, Howrah was the only district with large deficit at 61% with rainfall of 49.8 mm. East Mednipur had by far the highest rainfall at 378.1 mm, 128% above normal. Burdwan, Birbhum and Purulia also had Large Excess rain (> 60% above normal).

NORTH EAST INDIA includes eight states: Sikkim, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Tripura.

Sikkim The Himalayan state with four districts had 51% below normal rain at 81.9 mm. South Sikkim had the highest and West Sikkim lowest rainfall.

Assam The state had 15% above normal rains at 147.5 mm in Oct 2019. Of the 27 districts in the state, Cachar in South Assam had the highest rainfall of 369.5 mm, 103% above normal. Baksa in North Assam with rainfall of 44.6 mm had the lowest rainfall with 61% deficit.

Arunachal Pradesh This Eastern Himalayan state had 37% below normal rain in Oct 2019, with rainfall of 116.8 mm. Of the 16 districts of the state, Papumpara had the highest rainfall with 233.7 mm had 20% above normal precipitation. Lower Subansiri has the lowest rainfall at 47.3 mm.

Meghalaya had 339.6 mm rainfall, 26 % above normal. Of the 7 districts in the state, Jaintia Hills (9% below normal) had the highest rainfall at 513.7 mm, closely followed by East Khasi Hills (508.3 mm, 70% above normal) and East Garo Hills (507.4 mm, massive 230% above normal). West Garo Hills had the lowest rainfall at 173.2 mm, 2% below normal.

Manipur had 108.4 mm rainfall, 33% below normal. Tamenglong had the highest rainfall at 242.4 mm, though 44% below normal among the nine districts of the state. Churachandrapur had just 10% of that, at 24.1 mm had the lowest rainfall, which was 87% below normal.

Mizoram had 121.9 mm rain, 40% below normal in Oct 2019. Of the 9 districts in Mizoram, Mamit from western part of the state had the highest rainfall at 326 mm, 57% above normal. Rest of the districts were all in Deficit (4 districts) or Large Deficit (3). Serchhip district from the eastern part of the state had the lowest rainfall at 26.2 mm, 84% below normal.

Nagaland had 173.2 mm rainfall, 46% above normal. Of the 11 districts of the state, Paren had the highest rainfall at 232.3 mm, 91% above normal. Zunheboto had the lowest rainfall at 78.6 mm, 36% below normal, the highest deficit among the states of Nagaland.

Tripura state had 189.8 mm, 11% above normal rainfall. Of the four districts of the state, North Tripura had the highest rainfall at 314.9 mm, 94% above normal. South Tripura had the lowest rainfall at 116.5 mm, which was 30% below normal.

WEST INDIA includes Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, Daman-Diu & Dadra-Nagarhaveli.

Rajasthan had just 22.1 mm rainfall during the month, but it was 121% above normal! East Rajasthan had 28.6 mm and West Rajasthan 16.9mm. Pratapgarh had the highest rainfall among 23 districts of East Rajasthan at 124.2 mm, massive 438% above normal. But the highest % above normal rainfall in Dugarpur (106.8 mm), with 888% above normal. Sikar with 2.8 mm rainfall (72% below normal) had the lowest rainfall in East Rajasthan, one of the seven districts of East Rasthan with below normal rainfall during the month. The highest rainfall of West Rajasthan was in Jaisalmer at 27.9 mm, 519% above normal. Hanumangarh had the lowest rainfall at 1.3 mm.

Gujarat had 53.2 mm rainfall in Oct 2019, a huge 213% above normal. It is divided into two regions: Gujarat (23 districts, 68 mm, 280% above normal) and Saurashtra-Kutch (13 districts, 39.3 mm, 149% above normal). Sabarkantha district had the highest rainfall at 113.9 mm, 566% above normal. Panchmahal had the lowest rainfall at 29 mm, which was 73% above normal. Morbi had the highest rainfall among the Saurashtra-Kutch region, with 105.2 mm, 792% above normal. Diu (3.1 mm) and Dwarka (5.3 mm) had the lowest rainfall among Saurashra-Kutch districts.

Madhya Pradesh had 47.9 mm rainfall, 51% above normal. Its divided into two regions: East MP (20 districts, 37.7mm, 10% above normal) and West MP (31 districts, 55.6 mm, 87% above normal). Capital Bhopal had the highest rainfall of the state at 132.6 mm, 281% above normal. Betul and Jhauba are the other two districts with above 100 mm rainfall. Narsinghpur had the lowest rainfall at 1.8 mm, 92% below normal. Sagar, Satna Gwalior are the other three districts with below 10 mm rainfall.

Maharashtra had 161.6 mm rainfall, 127% above normal. The state is divided into four regions: Konkan or Coastal Maharashtra (7 districts); Madhya Maharashtra (10 districts, 202.3 mm, 176% above normal), Marathwada (8 districts, 227.4 mm, 217% above normal) and Vidarbha (11 districts, 52.5 mm, 9% below normal). Sidhudurg had the highest rainfall with 456.3 mm rainfall, 236% above normal. Wardha in Vidrabha had the lowest rainfall at 21.2 mm, 60% below normal.

Goa had 547.7 mm, 250% above normal, the highest rainfall among all states of India in Oct 2019. Both North and South Goa had above 500 mm rainfall.


Dadra & Nagar Haveli

SOUTH INDIA includes Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Lakshadweep-Minicoy, Andaman-Nicobar.

Karnataka had 268.8 mm rainfall, 105% above normal in Oct 2019. The state is divided into three sections: Coastal Karnataka (3 districts, 520 mm, 180% above normal), North Interior Karnataka (11 districts, 221.1 mm, 109% above normal) and South Interior Karnataka (13 districts, 259.3 mm, 83% above normal). Udupi had the highest rainfall at 623.4 mm, 215% above normal. Raichur had the lowest rainfall at 92.3 mm (20% below normal), the only district of the state with below 100 mm rainfall.

Kerala had 470 mm rainfall, 55% above normal. Among the 14 districts of the state, Ernakulam had the highest rainfall at 594.4 mm, 91% above normal. The capital Thiruvananthapuram had the lowest rainfall at 345.4 mm, 22% above normal.

Tamil Nadu had 224.4 mm, 27% above normal rainfall. Among the 32 districts of the state, Nilgiris had by far the highest rainfall at 520.4 mm, 134% above normal. Karur had the lowest rainfall at 122 mm, 6% below normal. Just to illustrate how skewed the rainfall has been, the rainfall on just one day (31st Oct) in some of the district has been close to or above 15% of the month’s rainfall: Ramnathpuram (69 mm), Sivaganga (63.3 mm), Nilgiris (55.5 mm), Kanyakumari (63.9 mm).

Puducherry had 295.3 mm, 13% above normal rainfall in Oct 2019. Mahe had the highest rainfall among four districts of the state at 492.4 mm, 75% above normal. Puduchery district had the lowest rainfall at 252.2 mm, 1% below normal.

Andhra Pradesh had 217.4 mm rainfall, 31% above normal. Among the 13 districts of the state, nine districts belong to coastal AP and four districts to Rayalseema. Srikakulam district among coastal districts (359.5 mm, 78% above normal) and Chittoor (226.6 mm, 36% above normal) among Rayalseema districts had the highest rainfall. West Godavri district (165 mm, 15% below normal) among the coastal districts and Kurnool (119.6 mm, 7% above normal) among Rayalseema districts had the lowest rainfall.

Telangana had 160.3 mm rainfall, 73% above normal. Among the 31 districts of the state, Warangal Rural had the highest rainfall at 284 mm, 222% above normal. Jogulamba Gadwal district had the lowest rainfall at 107.2 mm, 10% above normal.

Lakshadweep-Minicoy had 527.7 mm, 271% above normal rainfall.

Andaman-Nicobar had 136.6 mm rainfall, massive 52% below normal.

In Conclusion Its clear that the Oct rainfall is worth taking note of. Among the key feature of the Oct 2019 rainfall has been the damage it has wrought on the rainfed crops including Cotton, Paddy, Soybeans, Bajra, Moong, Tur and Udad. The situation is so bad that there is news of farmers committing suicide even in Palghar district of Maharashtra[i]. The key question is, could the IMD have made accurate and actionable forecast of the October rains say a week or two before the rainfall and ensure the forecasts gets communicated to the individual farmers? If they could, a huge part of the damage may have been saved and farmers saved from the distress. It is this kind of science that we need to focus on.



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