New Delhi, April 16: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) on Monday announced that monsoon is likely to be normal this year. Addressing a press conference on Monday, Met Department Director-General KJ Ramesh said, “India is going to experience third successful normal monsoon with a quantitative figure of 97 percent (+-5) in 2018.”

The date of onset of the monsoon is likely to be announced in the middle of May. As reported the monsoon is considered normal if the average rainfall is between 96 to 104 percent. Earlier, private weather forecasting agency Skymet also predicted that monsoon 2018 is expected to be normal in India in comparison to 2017.

As quoted by news agency PTI, IMD director DG K G Ramesh said that there is very less probability’ of the deficient monsoon. Last year also, there was a normal monsoon forecast by the IMD.

As per historical data, the long-period average (LPA) rainfall — between June and September — is 89cm. The IMD categorises rainfall in the 96 percent to 104 percent LPA range as normal while the rain immediately below that, it is considered below normal.

However, the monsoon can be affected by the El Niño conditions. El Niño is an abnormal condition over Equatorial Pacific Ocean, with warming over central and east Pacific Ocean. The warming results in below-par rainfall across the subcontinent and South Asia.

Skymet also mentioned in its report that above normal rains will benefit the farmers who are expecting good showers in the sowing month of June. Although rains would witness a drop in July and August that will not much affect the farmers.

In 2017 southwest monsoon season India received ‘below normal’ rainfall at 95 percent of the Long Period Average (LPA) as against the India Meteorological Department (IMDs) forecast of rains to be normal at 98 percent of the LPA with a model error of plus and minus 4 percent. Skymet predicted a ‘below normal’ monsoon in 2017.