NEW DELHI: June has ended with a huge countrywide rainfall deficit of 33% of normal, making it the fifth driest month of June in the past 100 years, as indicated by TOI two days ago . While monsoon’s performance has so far been way below expectations, Met officials say there are indications of good rains in the first half of July. Rainfall across India in June was recorded to be 112.1mm, as against the long period average (normal) of 166.9mm, according to the India Meteorological Department. In the past 100 years, June rainfall has been less than this in just four years — 2009 (85.7mm), 2014 (95.4), 1926 (98.7mm) and 1923 (102mm) — as per IMD records. As many as 30 out of India’s 36 meteorological sub-divisions registered deficient (lower than 20% below normal) or large deficient (60% or less below normal) rainfall during the month. With a huge deficit opening up in June, monsoon will now have to perform at over 102% of average over the next three months in order to finish at 96%, the lower end of the normal range, which was IMD’s forecast for this year’s monsoon. Monsoon’s failure in June, mainly because of late onset and tardy progress till June 19, comes on the back of weak pre-monsoon rainfall. This led to added water stress in many parts of central and south India which are reeling under drought. As per the Central Water Commission’s update late last week, reservoirs in Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra were at critically low levels of 84% and 77%, respectively, below normal for this time of the year. Reservoir levels across south India are running very low, with joint Andhra-Telangana projects at 52% below normal, Tamil and Kerala 47% below normal and both Karnataka and Telangana at -36%. Gujarat reservoirs too were at 23% below the normal level. However, better news could be in store for the next couple of weeks, with all eyes on a low-pressure system that has formed in the Bay of Bengal and which could intensify into a depression over the next two days. “This system is set to move inland and bring good rainfall over central India as well as some parts of east and north. Monsoon will very likely cover entire central in the next few days and move further into north India from its current position over east UP and Uttarakhand under the influence of this system. The week after that should also see an active monsoon,” said D Sivananda Pai, IMD’s lead monsoon forecaster. IMD has issued red alerts for very heavy falls at several sub-divisions, including Odisha, Chhattisgarh, east MP, Vidarbha and Telangana over the next three-four days. Private forecaster Skymet has also predicted a monsoon surge in the first half of July and advised farmers in central India to sow their kharif crops during this period. “Mumbai is at serious risk of flooding between July 3 and July 5. Close to 200mm or more rain per day is going to batter the city during this period. Chennai, on the other hand, which has not seen good rains for a very long time now, may continue to be dry in the first week of July,” said Skymet MD Jatin Singh.