The annual southwest monsoon is likely to reach Kerala around May 31, the India Meteorological Department forecasted on Wednesday.

“This is not early,” PTI quoted Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, the weather department’s director general, as saying. “It’s close to the normal date.”

The date of arrival of the southwest monsoon in Kerala has varied widely over the last 150 years, PTI reported. In 2023, the onset of monsoon in Kerala was recorded on June 8.

In April, India Meteorological Department predicted above-normal rainfall in the monsoon. This is the first time in nearly a decade that the weather agency has predicted “above normal” rainfall in its long-range forecast for the season.

The department had said in April that the country is expected to get 106% of the long period average rainfall. The measure is the mean rainfall during the four-month monsoon season over the last 50 years.

The season generally begins in June and starts to retreat by September.

Nearly the entire country, except for certain parts in the northwest, east and northeast, is likely to get good rainfall, the weather agency had said earlier.

Parts of the country were crippled by a severe heat wave in March and April, drying up water bodies and creating a drought-like situation.

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