The India Meteorological Department (IMD) retained its forecast for this year's monsoon rains at 88 per cent of the long-period average, the weather office said on Monday, adding the El Nino weather pattern could strengthen during the rest of the season.
India received a similar level of rains last year but the government did not declare a drought as the monsoon picked up in the latter half of the season, underscoring its highly unpredictable nature, which keeps farmers on the edge.
Monsoon rains are expected to be 84 per cent of the long average in the August-September period, IMD said.
El Nino, or a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can prompt dry spells in Southeast Asia and Australia and heavy rains in South America, curbing food crop output.
The IMD released a statement on Monday which said, "Quantitatively, the rainfall over the country as a whole during the second half of the season (August to September) is likely to be 84 per cent of LPA with a model error of plus/minus 8 per cent. The rainfall during August is likely to be an estimated 90 per cent of LPA as was forecasted in June. "
The met department also said from April to July 2015, El Nino conditions have strengthened from weak to moderate level. Latest forecast from ESSO-IMD-IITM coupled model indicates 72 per cent probability of El Nino conditions to become strong during remaining part of the monsoon season.
Over the Indian Ocean, there is 86 per cent probability of current neutral Indian Ocean Dipole conditions to continue during the monsoon season.