Northeast reels under prolonged dry spell

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, February 24: A weakening western disturbance has caused severe rainfall deficit in the Northeast, leaving the region parched under a prolonged dry spell. However, the weatherman is hopeful of pre-monsoon showers providing some relief in the coming days.

The states in the region, where the economy is mostly based on agricultural activities, have been witnessing rainfall deficits from 20 to 92 per cent.

Assam has received just 14 mm rainfall during the period January 1-February 18 this year. The normal rainfall during this period is 34.9mm, which means there has been a deficit of 60 per cent.

Tripura has witnessed the highest rainfall deficit of 92 per cent. The state has received just 2 mm rainfall as against the normal of 26.6 mm during the same period.

Aruchal Pradesh has received 38mm rainfall as against the normal of 112.1 mm – a deficit of 66 per cent.

Likewise, Manipur, Mizoram and galand have recorded rainfall deficits of 54 per cent, 69 per cent and 20 per cent respectively.

Meghalaya, the ‘abode of clouds’, has witnessed a deficit of 23 per cent. The normal rainfall during this period in the hill state is 28.9 mm, while it has received 22.2mm so far.

Director of Borjhar-based Regiol Meteorological Centre Sanjay O’Neill Shaw said that the effect of the western disturbance in the Northeast has been less this time, resulting in the rainfall deficit.

“But the situation is not alarming as yet. Normally, the pre-monsoon season starts by the first week of March. That is why temperatures are gradually moving up. We hope to receive some rainfall during the pre-monsoon season,” he said. Erratic rainfall last year had affected tea production in Assam valley. Less than 30 per cent of the State’s cultivated land has irrigation facility. The rainfall deficit this year has led to a steep decline in water levels of rivers and water bodies. Water scarcity is already being reported from various parts of Assam.

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