The India Meteorological Department said monsoon is likely to enter Kerala by June 1 or 2, marking the beginning of the four-month rainy season that is crucial for the country’s agrarian economy, The Times of India reported.

June 1 is the usual date of arrival of monsoon in Kerala, as it gradually marches into the Indian mainland. In its forecast earlier this month, the weather department had said monsoon would likely arrive on June 5, four days later than usual.

India gets about 70% of the annual rainfall during monsoon and it boosts the country’s agricultural output and economic growth. Any seasonal delay would have affected farmers who are already impacted by the lockdown and economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Weather conditions are “very likely to become favourable from June 1” for the monsoon onset over Kerala, the India Meteorological Department said in a statement. This is because conditions are becoming favourable for monsoon winds to advance, as a low pressure area is expected to develop over the Arabian Sea between May 31 and June 4.

“With a low pressure system forming over Arabian Sea today [Thursday] and set to turn into a depression, conditions will become favourable for monsoon’s onset over Kerala by June 1,” Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, head of IMD, told the newspaper. “We are not giving a firm date but the arrival is likely on June 1 or 2.”

Anand Sharma, the deputy director-general of IMD, said the timely arrival of monsoon was a “good sign”. “First week is going to be good for west coast especially up to Maharashtra,” he told ANI.

However, the weather department said that India is likely to get widespread rain even before the onset of monsoon. This is because the severe heatwave over many areas of north and central India is set to abate with the arrival of a western disturbance over North India.

Under its influence, scattered to fairly widespread rain and thunderstorms are expected over the western Himalayas – in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand – as well as the adjoining northern plains from May 28 to 31, the IMD said. Some rainfall is also likely over Madhya Pradesh.