THE monsoon arrived earlier than usual in Yangon and Ayeyarwaddy divisions and southern Myanmar this year because of a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, the director general of the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology, U Tun Lwin, said last week.
“The monsoon usually starts in Ayeyarwaddy Division at the end of May but this year it began on May 20,” U Tun Lwin said.
The department had recorded 344 millimetres (13.5 inches) of rain at its Kaba Aye Road headquarters from May 1 to 22, compared to 372mm (14.63 inches) during the same period last year.
He said the monsoon was forecast to begin in central Myanmar by the end of May and in the north of the country a few days later.
The cyclone, which brought heavy rain to Rakhine State, was the first from the Bay of Bengal to affect Myanmar in nearly 10 years, U Tun Lwin said. The last such storm, in May 1994, had affected Bangladesh more than Myanmar, he said.
The cyclone was also unusual because of the path it followed, U Tun Lwin said.
It began forming off eastern India on May 12 and travelled in an easterly loop across the bay towards Myanmar’s western coast.
The last time this happened was in May 1992, U Tun Lwin said. Myanmar tended to be spared from the effect of cyclones in the Bay of Bengal as they usually move towards India, he said.A maximum of five cyclones was forecast to occur in the bay during the monsoon season this year, the director-general said.