The first spell of thundershowers of this year’s pre-monsoon season (March-May) is expected to break out over parts of Tamil Nadu and most of Kerala from this weekend and continue into the next, according to consensus forecasts from global weather models as also from India Meteorological Department (IMD).

US Climate Forecast System expects dryness over South persisting for another week or so, but parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala may receive the first thundershowers next week. Gradually, the rest of the Peninsula will return to ‘normal’ and give in to advancing thunderstorms from the seas.

Key to plantation crops

Pre-monsoon showers are the key to plantation crops such as tea, rubber, coffee, pepper and cardamom in South India. However, this year the plantation regions, especially coffee, have been receiving rainfall practically every month since December.

“Arabica coffee needs 90-120 days stress period and robusta about 60 days to blossom. But the rains every month have left the lands with moisture and vegetative growth preventing reproductive growth,” said Bose Mandanna, a grower from Kodagu in Karnataka.

This has resulted in sort of blossom every month and the plants will have ripened much before the South-West monsoon ends in September, he said. Frequent rains will also help pepper catkins to gain weight, though new ones may not appear until the plants undergo a stress period. Plantation crops need to undergo a stress period for reproductive growth, Mandanna said.

Light rain for North

A fresh incoming western disturbance affecting the hills of the Himalayas from Friday may impact the adjoining plains of North-West India (mainly Punjab and Haryana).

GP Sharma, Vice President-Meteorology with private forecaster Skymet Weather, told BusinessLine that rain at this stage may not benefit standing crops but if it is light it could help some. Looking at the intensity angle, the expectation is that these rains may not harm the crops.

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