KATHMANDU, June 11: Moderate to severe heatwave conditions were reported across much of central and western Nepal Monday as the much expected Monsoon rains showed no signs of arrival in the country.
Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) said Nepalgunj was the hottest place in the country on Monday as the city reeled under maximum temperature of 44.3 degree Celsius. Dhangadhi and Dipayal followed with a daytime high of 43 and 42.8 degree Celsius.
Even places like Kathmandu Valley and Dadeldhura in Far west Nepal were reeling under high temperatures. MFD in its daily weather report said Monday´s day time high temperature in Kathmandu was 34.2 degree Celsius, which is almost 6 degrees higher than the climate normal of 28.5. Dedeldhura´s high was also 6.2 degree Celsius higher than normal at 31.7 degree Celsius.
Meanwhile, MFD said is it expects this year´s monsoon to enter Nepal one week later than the normal date of June 10. Some parts of eastern Nepal have however, reported light to moderate rainfall over the past one week.
"If the atmosphere of the Indian subcontinent sees no disturbance in the next couple of days, full fledged monsoon will begin by June 15," said Rajendra Shrestha, senior meteorologist at the MFD. Usually, the monsoon, which hits the southern Indian state of Kerala on June 1, enters Nepal on June 10, Shrestha said.
"The monsoon hit Kerala five days later than the normal date this year, which has obviously delayed the onset of monsoon in Nepal," said Shrestha.
According to Mani Ratna Shakya, chief of the MFD, farmers need not worry about the delay in monsoon rains. "A week-delay in monsoon rain is pretty normal," says Shakya. However, Shakya says the delay in monsoon could cause excessive rainfall in a short period of time later in July and August. "The excessive rainfall could damage crops and trigger landslides," said Shakya.
Shakya says the onset of monsoon has been delayed in Nepal in past as well. "In 1982, the monsoon entered Nepal only on June 27," he said. "In the last few years, the monsoon has never arrived on time. Last year, it came on June 15. The previous year, it came only on June 17." Several reasons including changes in sea-surface temperature and meteorological activities in the Pacific Ocean, among other causes, are responsible for delaying the monsoon, he says.