Summer rains cool drought-hit Karnataka

Bengaluru: A year after the worst drought in decades, widespread summer rains or pre-monsoon showers have brought relief to the people from scorching heat and water scarcity across Karnataka, said an official on Monday.

“Summer rains this month across the southern state have been good compared to the prolonged dry weather last year and augurs well for all ahead of the south-west monsoon from June first week,” Karnataka state Natural Disaster Monitoring Centre Director G.S. Srinivasa Reddy told IANS here.

Unlike last year, the south-interior, central and north-interior areas of the state received moderate to heavy rains since March and more so since May 10, filling up ponds and lakes and reviving water bodies to mitigate hardship of the people, especially farmers reeling under the impact of the drought.

“Rainfall for May has been 30 per cent excess in south-interior areas and normal in the Malnad region across the Western Ghats. Though there were rains in northern and coastal areas, inconsistency resulted in 25-30 per cent deficit in the north region,” said Reddy, citing the weather data.

The precious and timely summer showers have also helped thousands of farmers and growers to take up agricultural operations, be it harvesting rabi crop in time and seasonal fruits like mango, water melon, grapes since March.

“The much-needed rains in the old Mysuru and Malnad region have also been a boon for cattle in human habitats and wild animals in the forests where water bodies like ponds and lakes had dried up,” Reddy noted.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bengaluru, the southwest monsoon is expected to reach this week and extend to Karnataka by next week.

“The monsoon will reach Karnataka four-five days either in advance or later,” said state Meteorological Department Director Sundar.M. Metri.

Summer showers during the last fortnight resulted in excess rainfall in and around Bengaluru.

“The city received 319 mm rainfall from May 1 to 28, surpassing the previous record of 287.1 mm set in May 1957 and 178 mm in May 2015,” recalled Metri.

Moderate to heavy rainfall, accompanied by thunderstorms and gusty winds in the last 10 days also wreaked havoc across the city, with about 100 trees uprooted, power lines snapped, low-laying areas inundated and roads flooded with drain water.

“With forecast of thundershowers and strong winds continuing in the state’s southern region, the city is expected to receive moderate to heavy rains this week,” added Metri.

A deep depression over the Bay of Bengal is expected to advance the monsoon further, bringing rains to Kerala from May 30 to 31 and spread to coastal and interior Karnataka by this weekend.