The southwest monsoon has entered almost all parts of India two weeks ahead of schedule, the India Meteorological Department said on Monday, the Hindustan Times reported. It is yet to reach some parts of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat.

RK Jenamani, senior scientist at the National Weather Forecasting Centre, told the newspaper that parts of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh had been receiving pre-monsoon showers over the last two to three days.

“There is no western disturbance affecting the northwestern region now,” he added. “This is only because of strong monsoon winds blowing over the region. The easterly winds have picked up, so the IMD has declared monsoon onset over many parts of northwest India.”

Jenamani explained that two factors were supporting the early advancement of monsoon in India, except in dry places in Gujarat and Rajasthan. “The westerly and south-westerly winds are very strong over the Arabian Sea and now a low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal is pulling the monsoon flow,” he told the Hindustan Times.

Ministry of Earth Sciences Secretary M Rajeevan said monsoon is a dynamic system. “This year is exceptional because the monsoon has covered parts of central India very early,” he said. “Monsoon has covered the entire country by June end in the past but this year, its trajectory is exceptional. Monsoon dates have definitely changed in recent decades.”

According to the India Meteorological Department’s bulletin on Sunday, the southwest Monsoon has advanced further into some more parts of Madhya Pradesh, the entire state of Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar, and most parts of east Uttar Pradesh.

The monsoon has also covered Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. In Jammu and Kashmir, it arrived 17 to 18 days ahead of schedule.

The weather department has issued an orange alert for several districts in Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Jharkhand. It sounded a red alert for Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri, Raigad and Sindhudurg districts.

Heavy rain likely in Punjab, Haryana

The meteorological centre in Chandigarh forecast heavy rain for parts of Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“Thunderstorm/lightning accompanied with hail and squall (speed 50-60 kmph) likely at isolated places on 15th and thunderstorm with lightning likely at isolated places on 16th and 17th in the states,” it added.