New Delhi: It will be disappointing for the monsoon lovers, reeling under the scorching summer heat and waiting for thunder showers to know that the monsoon in the country during the current season is expected to be below normal, according to a revised forecast. This will severely affect northern states producing food grains.

"Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 95 per cent of the long period average with a model error of plus or minus four percent," Science and Technology Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told reporters here. The forecast was reviewed after the onset of the south-west monsoon that set in over Kerala on May 29, three days before the normal date of June 1.

In April, during the first monsoon forecast, the government had said the monsoon would be normal, with the rainfall likely to be 98 percent of the Long Period Average (LPA) with a model error of plus or minus five percent.

Ajit Tyagi, IMD Director General, attributed the revised forecast to factors like "weakening of the La nina condition (associated with monsoon) which has become neutral, the below temperature over Indian ocean and the pressure over the North Atlantic which has become unfavourable."

According to the weather department, July will witness 93 percent of monsoon rains and August 94 percent. Also July may mostly remain dry with monsoon making a late entry in the last week of the month.

Monsoon is likely to hit Punjab, Haryana, eastern Uttar Pradesh and NCR region only during the first week of July.

Over the four broad geographical regions of the country, rainfall this season is likely to be 97 percent of its long period average over North-West India, 95 percent over North East India, 95 percent over Central India and 94 percent over South peninsula, with a model error of plus or minus eight percent.

The predictions by the meteorological department about the south-west monsoon are surrounded by doubts and questions.