The monsoon arrives one month early - Al Jazeera English

The monsoon arrives one month early

The rains have swept across India and into Pakistan four weeks ahead of schedule.

Steff Gaulter |

The southwest monsoon has now covered the entirety of India, four weeks ahead of schedule and the earliest on record.

Normally the rains wouldn’t push into Pakistan until 15 July, but this year the rains are already falling.

In New Delhi, the rains are nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, whereas in Karachi and Islamabad, the rains were nearly three weeks early.

The early onset has brought hope to millions of farmers who depend on the rains for their livelihood.

The June to September monsoon is crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where just over half of arable land is rain-fed.

The farm sector makes up about 15 percent of the nearly $2 trillion economy that is Asia's third-biggest.

However, the early onset of the rains has also brought flooding problems for many northern parts of the country.

The early rains have been triggered by the heatwave which has gripped central Asia. This, combined with two low pressures on either side of India, drew the moisture northwards, spreading the rains throughout the country.

Towards the end of last week thunderstorms were already pouring across the foothills of the Himalayas.

Relentless rain which poured for 36 hours caused severe flooding in the town of Uttarkashi, in Uttarakhand, Northern India. 465mm of rain fell in just a 24 hour period.

An entire apartment building was swept away by the floods. Three people are known to have died, with another 12 still missing. This brings to 50 the number of people missing due to the flooding in the region.

The monsoon rains are expected to ease over northern India and Pakistan in the next few days. The rains will returned to their average position for this time of year.

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