After a week-long delay, monsoon hit the coast of Kerala on Saturday, marking the commencement of the season, the India Meteorological Department said.

Private weather forecaster Skymet on Saturday said all the criteria required to declare the onset of monsoon had been matched. Rainfall of more than 2.5 mm has also been recorded in seven out of 14 districts of Kerala for two consecutive days.

“Conditions are favorable for further advance of southwest monsoon into remaining parts of South Arabian Sea, Lakshadweep area & Kerala, some more parts of Tamil Nadu,
Southwest, Southeast, Eastcentral & Northeast Bay of Bengal and some parts of Central Arabian Sea and Westcentral Bay of Bengal during next 48 hours,” the weather department said. It further stated that the advancement of the southwest monsoon into southern areas of the Northeast is also likely in the next two days.

Pre-monsoon rainfall recorded this time is just 99 mm against the normal 131.5mm, Samar Chaudhary, a meteorologist with Skymet, told news agency ANI. This has been the driest pre-monsoon season in 65 years.

On Friday, the IMD sounded a red alert in four districts ahead of the onset of southwest monsoons in the state within 24 hours. The districts that have been asked to remain vigilant are Thrissur, Ernakulam, Malappuram, and Kozhikode.

All four districts will experience “isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall” in the coming days. While Thrissur has been put on red alert on June 10, heavy rainfall is likely to lash the other three districts the following day.

However, in May, Skymet had predicted “below normal” rainfall in the country this year with a Long Period Average of 9% and an error margin of five per cent. Monsoon usually arrives on the southern tip of Kerala around June 1 and retreat from Rajasthan by September.

Meanwhile, heat wave conditions prevail in most of North India, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan that have recorded scorching temperatures this season. On Thursday, IMD said that the monsoon in Delhi is likely to arrive after two-three days from its usual onset on June 29. However, Skymet predicted that it may take at least a week longer, PTI reported.