India has just experienced its second-driest January since record-keeping began in 1901 with just 2.9 mm (0.1141 inches) of rain recorded. That's 85 percent less than the country normally sees in January.
The normal January rain across India is 19.2 mm (0.75 inches), IMD said. Their data spanning the past 117 years reveals the driest January was the one in 2007 when 2.8 mm (0.1102 inches) was recorded. That's just 0.1 mm (0.0039 inches) less than this year.
Rainfall was large-excess in 1, deficient/large-deficient in 19 while 16 out of 36 meteorological subdivisions had no rain at all, IMD reports.
Low January rainfall across the country is blamed on the path of western disturbances, which bring cold and wet weather into north India, was more northerly than usual.
Most of these systems, instead of moving along north Rajasthan and Punjab, swept through northern Jammu and Kashmir. As a result, they had little impact on the weather in north India, the Times Of India quoted officials.
Rain in the winter season is not only important for rabi crops but also for recharge of underground aquifers and Himalayan glaciers and also plays an important role in cleansing the air. Pollution usually peaks during this time of the year as the mercury plunges.
"Rain from the northeast monsoon usually ceases during the first week of January, with peninsula India witnessing a drop in rainfall activity in the month. Rain in northwest India in January is a result of an interaction between easterly troughs and western disturbances," an IMD official told TOI.
Featured image: Maharashtra, India by Rajarshi Mitra