The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an "orange alert" amid high temperatures and humid air and a rapidly advancing southwest monsoon. The latest weather report shows a western disturbance lies over Jammu & neighborhood, and there is a cyclonic circulation over north Pakistan and adjoining Punjab in lower tropospheric levels.

These systems are likely to move across Northwest India till May 26 and will be accompanied by moisture supply from the Arabian Sea during the same period, the IMD has said.

The IMD says there is a possibility of light to moderate rainfall at most places with "thunderstorm, lightning and occasional gusty winds or squall" over the Western Himalayan Region and rainfall is expected at many places with thunderstorm, lightning and occasional gusty winds over plains of Northwest India till May 26, with maximum intensity on May 25.

Parts of Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and Muzaffarabad, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and Haryana are expected to see "moderate to intense rainfall" on May 25 and 26, shows the satellite imagery.

Areas of Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana-Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, and north Rajasthan may see thundersquall and gusty wind speeds reaching 50-60 kmph, while Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, and north Rajasthan may receive moderate to heavy rain on May 25.

Besides, the weather department also expects hailstorms in areas of Jammu division, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Uttar Pradesh, and north Rajasthan on 25th May.

The southwest monsoon over Kerala is likely to be slightly delayed than the normal arrival date of June 1, says the IMD. The monsoon onset over Kerala is likely to be on June 4, it has been forecast. The advance of the southwest monsoon over the Indian mainland is marked by monsoon onset over Kerala and is an important indicator characterising the transition from a hot and dry season to a rainy season.

As the monsoon progresses northward, relief from scorching summer temperatures is experienced over the areas. Southwest monsoon normally sets in over Kerala on June 1 with a standard deviation of about 7 days, as per IMD.

Notably, the government has launched the 'Monsoon Mission', which aims to build a working partnership between the academic and R&D organisations, both national and international, and the Centre to improve the operational monsoon forecast skill over the country and develop relevant climate applications for agriculture, hydrology, and power sectors.

It is aimed at developing and improving a state-of-the-art dynamical modeling framework for improving prediction skills of seasonal and extended-range predictions and short and medium-range (up to two weeks) predictions.

The mission is planned with an overall objective to improve monsoon prediction over India on all time scales. This has focused on seasonal (for June to September months) and extended-range prediction of Indian summer monsoon rainfall (ISMR), with delineation of active/break spells, using high-resolution ocean-atmosphere coupled dynamical models with reasonable skill, as well as short-range forecasts.

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