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Monsoon brings long-awaited relief to some, millions still parched as rain fails to reach Delhi, northwestern India

By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
June 27, 2019, 10:11:47 AM EDT


The Southwest monsoon made significant progress across India in recent days; however, a change in the weather pattern means millions of people will have to wait several weeks for the monsoon to arrive.

Rainfall expanded across much of western and central India in recent days as the monsoon made its most significant advancement of the season.

The monsoon pushed into Maharashtra, southern and eastern Madhya Pradesh and eastern Uttar Pradesh by Wednesday, but further advancement is not expected this week as hot and dry air builds across northwestern India.

India 6/26


A few pre-monsoon thunderstorms developed across northwestern India over the weekend. While the rainfall and relief from intense heat were badly needed, the storms also came at a cost as more than a dozen people were killed in Rajasthan on Sunday.

A strong thunderstorm caused a pandaal (tent) to collapse in Barmer, Rajasthan. According to India Today, 14 people were killed and another 50 were injured.

These isolated thunderstorms will continue to occur across northwestern India into the middle of the week, offering brief heat relief, but also endangering lives and property.

India AP 6/24

An Indian woman holds an umbrella as she walks through a road during a rain in Hyderabad, India, Monday, June 3, 2019. India receives its monsoon rains from June to September. (AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A.)


Drier air will spread into the region during the second half of the week, ending any risk for rainfall and allowing heat to intensify once again.

Highs across the National Capital Region will once again eclipse 41 C (106 F) each day through at least Sunday.

Temperatures of this magnitude will elevate the risk for heat-related illnesses, especially for the elderly and children. Outdoor activities should be limited during the hottest times of the day.

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Fortunately for areas that have entered the monsoon season, additional downpours are expected this week following the delayed arrival of this year's rainfall.

Mumbai may have daily downpours into this weekend, helping to erase the rainfall shortages so far this monsoon season. The rainfall will bring the risk for localized flooding and transportation delays each day.

There will also be a few chances for rainfall in Chennai this week following last week's downpours.

The city has already reached its normal rainfall for the month of June, but any additional rainfall will be welcome following a prolonged drought in the area.

Before rain arrived, reservoir levels had fallen to dangerously low levels. The below images show the dramatic effects of the drought on the Puzhal Reservoir.

Puzhal 2018 6/20

Satellite image showing the water supply of Puzhal Reservoir on June 15, 2018. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)

Puzhal 2019 6/20

Image showing the severe decline in water levels of the Puzhal Reservoir on April 6, 2019. (Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies)


Despite the Southwest monsoon commencing around Chennai, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls projects that the season will end drier than normal with rainfall held to around 90 percent of what typically falls.

Any rainfall in the coming weeks will likely not be heavy enough to significantly improve drought conditions.

Chennai receives the majority of their yearly rainfall from October into early December as the Northeast monsoon affects the area.

While the monsoon has made significant advances in the past few days, it remains well behind where it should be for the date.

Monsoon 6/24


The significant delay in monsoon rainfall has resulted in 36 percent below-normal rainfall countrywide as of June 24.

While much of the rainfall deficit across India can be made up with several weeks of significant rainfall throughout the country, it appears likely the season will end up below normal, as predicted by AccuWeather forecasters in April.

A monsoon low may form in the northern Bay of Bengal this weekend or early next week bringing the potential for heavy rainfall to eastern India, including many locations that have received well below-normal rainfall so far this monsoon season.

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