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Climate

 

Most of India has three seasons: (1) cool, (2) hot, and (3) rainy.

The cool season lasts from October to February. The weather then becomes mild, except in the northern mountains. Snow usually falls in mountainous areas during this season. As the altitude increases, temperatures drop below freezing point (0 C). No other section of India has temperatures below freezing point. The northern plains may get some frost during this season. Southern India lacks a true cool season, but the weather from October to February is usually not quite as hot as during the rest of the year.

The hot season lasts from March to the end of June. The northern plains get the greatest heat. Temperatures often rise to 49 C. Temperatures on the coastal plains stay around 29 C or 32 C. Cyclones often bring storms to the coastal plains at this time. Parts of the southern plateau remain cool during the hot season. The northern mountains are cool or cold, depending on altitude.

The rainy season lasts from the middle of June to September. During this period, monsoons (seasonal winds) blow across the Indian Ocean, picking up moisture. They reach India from the southeast and southwest, bringing almost all the rain that falls on India. During the other two seasons, monsoons blow from the north or northeast. 

The southwest monsoons are of great importance to Indian agriculture. If the monsoons bring enough rain to the country, crops will grow. Sometimes they fail to arrive in time, and crops fail as a result. Some monsoons drop too much rain, ruining crops and causing destructive floods. 

Rain falls most heavily in northeastern India. Some hills and mountain slopes in this region receive an average of about 1,140 centimetres of rain a year. The world's heaviest recorded rainfall for one year fell at Cherrapunji. This village in Meghalaya had 2,647 centimetres of rain from August 1860 to July 1861. The Thar, or Indian, Desert in the northwestern part of the country receives less than 25 centimetres of rain a year. Some sections of the hot, sandy, and rocky, desert get only about 5 centimetres of rain annually.