New Delhi, May 13 (Courtesy: The Hindustan Times): Onset of monsoon seems to be on course with the southwest monsoon likely to advance over the Andaman Sea and the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago around May 16, according to Indian Meteorological Department.

“The conditions will become favourable for the advance of southwest monsoon over south Bay of Bengal, Andaman Sea and Andaman & Nicobar Islands around 16th May 2020,” says a forecast by the department.

The department has also predicted likely light to moderate rainfall at most places over Andaman & Nicobar Islands on 15th & 16th May. Andaman Islands are also likely to experience heavy rainfall at a few places on these two days, it said.

Meteorological department tracks monsoon’s course every year as it moves from the Andaman Sea towards Kerala by the end of May. Last year the southwest monsoon current reached south Andaman Sea and Nicobar Islands on May 18, two days ahead of its normal schedule but its further advance was sluggish and it reached Kerala only on June 8—seven days behind schedule. Last year the monsoon covered the entire country by July 19—at least 4 days behind the normal course. However, it displayed even more irregular behavior during its withdrawal, which only started from northwest India on October 9—more than a month after September 1-- when it generally starts to recede.

The withdrawal of monsoon last year was noteworthy for one more reason since it happened very quickly, in a space of just a week to finish by October 16. The normal date for the completion of withdrawal of monsoon is October 15.

The meteorological department has been issuing monsoon forecasts since 2005 and it claims to have got it right every time except in 2015. Last year it predicted that the monsoon will reach Kerala on May 6 with an error margin of 4 days on either side of the predicted date.

According to the latest prediction, the southwest monsoon will reach the Andaman and Nicobar Islands four days before the regular schedule.