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Fox News Weather Center

Drought to Plague India Despite Onset of Monsoon Season

A killer heat wave left almost 2,000 people dead in India ahead of the annual monsoon season, but that kind of extreme heat isn't expected during the season which just got underway.

As the monsoon advances northward, there will be some relief, but there is still the threat for more extreme heat in central and northern India over the next week or two until the monsoon arrives, AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls said.

"It is pretty typical for India to get hot in advance of the monsoon," he said.

Drought, however, will be a problem across much of India into Pakistan this summer.

This year's monsoon season started about four days late in Kerala, India -- the third time the season has been late in the last six years.

"Forecasting the onset of the monsoon in India is still very difficult and the factors that impact onset dates are not completely understood. Research is being done on this," Nicholls said.

Drought occurs in India when rainfall is 90 percent or less of normal, the Indian Meteorological Department said.

A developing El Niño is expected to lead to below-normal rainfall across much of India this monsoon season with northwestern India and Pakistan likely the driest, Nicholls said.

However, not all El Niños lead to drought in India; the Indian Ocean Dipole also plays a role, Nicholls said. The dipole is expected to remain neutral or slightly positive. A positive dipole is characterized by above-normal sea surface temperatures in the western Indian Ocean with below-normal sea surface temperatures toward Indonesia.

Far southern and northeastern India may be the only areas to reach normal rainfall totals during the 2015 monsoon season, Nicholls said.