ISLAMABAD: With above average rainfall expected this monsoon, the Met Office has warned that the environment will be conducive to locust breeding up to September and there will be threats of urban flooding due to development in and around cities.

The monsoon forecast released by the Pakistan Meteorological Department stated that, as a positive development, there will be sufficient water available for irrigation and the power sector.

The Met Office has said that monsoon rainfall continues from July to September.

The monsoon is impacted by El Niño and temperature variations in the Indian Ocean, and both the indicators are normal.

“Based on global and regional circulation models, the outlook for the monsoon season is that the rainfall is expected to be around 10pc above normal across the country,” the Met Office said.

It added that Sindh and Kashmir are likely to receive around 20pc more rainfall that usual during the season.

The seasonal outlook for the Potohar region is that there will be consistent spells of light to moderate rainfall and the pre-monsoon rain will likely begin after June 20.

Pakistan typically receives 140.8 millimetres of rainfall from July to September.

Under the impact of active rainfall there are chances of potential flooding in the eastern rivers of the country due to the higher than normal rainfall in the Kashmir area. Similarly, there are high probabilities of flash flooding in hill torrents of Punjab, including various nullahs in and around Murree and Islamabad.

As the country has witnessed rampant growth of cities there are high chances of urban flooding in most of the metropolis areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh.

While the rainfall will have a good impact on rice crops, the impact on cotton crops will be negative.

The Met Office has also said that the seasonal outlook for the Potohar region shows consistent rainfall up to the middle of September which will be beneficial for early growth and vegetation of the kharif crops, such as peanut.

However, consistent rain or cloudy conditions throughout the cropping season may produce more weeds which would affect the plant’s growth.

While the most rainy days across the country will occur during July and August, and the rainfall will be beneficial for sugarcane, rice and cotton crops, heavy rainfall in certain areas could be harmful to the cotton crop mainly in the final stages of the monsoon.

Published in Dawn, June 11th, 2020