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Odisha may be hit by drought this year, warns agro-meteorologist

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau

Bhubaneswar, Apr 23:
While the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) is all set to forecast the dates for the onset of monsoon on Thursday, a senior agro-meteorologist of Odisha has predicted a drought in the state this year.Drought

“Though the southwest monsoon will hit the state as usual by the second week of June, it is most likely that the monsoon will withdraw from the state by August-September causing severe damage to kharif crops”, said Dr Surendranath Pasupalak, agro-meteorologist and nodal officer of the Indian Meteorological Centre at the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT).

Dr Pasupalak said, going by the data from 17 international meteorological centres , there is every possibility that the southwest monsoon would withdraw from Odisha in August and September due to El Nino effect and that would influence the monsoon flow in India and Indonesia in a significant way.

El Nino is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific which influences the global weather system.

He said since the El Nino is expected to intensify by the second week of August, it will have an adverse effect on the wind flow and the monsoon across the ocean.

The agro-meteorlogist also said if the effect of El Nino reaches a high in August, it will force the monsoon to withdraw from Odisha .
“ That is bad news because August is usually the peak time for paddy cultivation and withdrawal of monsoon would severely hit the paddy crop. Although the state will receive the average quantum of annual rainfall, it would not help the farmers as there would be excess rainfall in June and July. As a result the possibility of floods in the state cannot be ruled out” Dr Pasupalak said.
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It may be mentioned here that despite average rainfall in the state last year, drought had hit as many as 39 panchayats.

The Centre, acting on the monsoon predictions of a number of international Met centres, has begun working on possible measures to tackle drought and has asked the Agriculture secretaries of various states to formulate action plans in anticipation of the threat.