As rains lashed several parts of the country, the weather office on Thursday asked farmers to postpone harvest of mustard in Punjab and Haryana, and wheat and pulses in central Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The western disturbance-induced rains provided respite from high temperatures, but sent farmers scrambling to protect their crops. Some parts of hill states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh witnessed snowfall.
"Postpone harvesting of mustard till cessation of rains in Punjab and Haryana; if already harvested, store at safe places to avoid losses. Withhold irrigation to wheat crops to avoid lodging," the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
The weather office advised use of hail nets to protect apple, pear, plum and peach orchards in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand as well as for fruit plantations in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
For farmers in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, the IMD has suggested to carry out harvesting of matured mustard, chickpea and wheat at the earliest and store them in a safe place.
It said maximum temperatures are in the range of 33-37 degrees Celsius over most places in the plains of the country. These are near normal or below normal over most parts of the country, the IMD added.
"Interestingly, heat wave conditions have been absent across most parts of India, consecutively for the second week of March 2023 due to favourable synoptic systems and active western disturbances moved across north India," said the Extended Range Forecast (ERF) for the next two weeks issued by the IMD on Thursday evening.
The weather office has forecast scattered to fairly widespread light to moderate rainfall with thunderstorms and hailstorms over the western Himalayan region till Monday.
"Due to likely rainfall/thunderstorm activity over most parts of the country during the next four to fivedays, maximum temperatures are very likely to be near normal or below normal over most parts of the country during most days of the week,” the ERF said.