heavy rain in Cherrapunjee

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Cherrapunjee, in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, on Wednesday smashed the previous one-day rainfall record. That 401.7mm record stood for 10 years, but it has now been wiped from the record books after 471.7 mm of rain fell on a single day.

“‘Til 8.30 a.m. this morning (Wednesday), Cherrapunjee recorded 471.7 mm of rain during a span of 24 hours, thus breaking its previous record of 407.7 mm which it received on August 21, 2005,” Vijay Kumar Singh, a meteorological official at Sohra, told IANS.

Cherrapunjee (now called Sohra) had a lot of rain this month. So far, 1,644.5 mm fell in the town.

Looking back in time, Cherrapunjee, known as the wettest place on Earth, received 853 mm of rain in 24 hours, in 1964. That is the most rain the town ever received in a span of 24 hours, since records were kept.

Each year, this waterlogged town receives an average of 12 metres of rain (12,000 mm) with the highest readings on the southern slopes of the Khasi Hills. The highest rainfall ever recorded in a year was 24,555 mm, back in 1974.

The town is 1,290 metres above sea level and 56 km from Meghalaya’s state capital, Shillong. It lies on the edge of a plateau on the southern slopes of the East Khasi Hills.

Strangely, Meghalaya is well short of its normal average rainfall this year. From June 1 to August 18 the “normal” average rainfall is 2,056.2 mm, but so far, only received 1,489.1 mm.

Cherrapunjee wasn’t the only place to receive more rain than expected on Tuesday. Meghalaya was expecting 17.8 mm, but received 464 percent more than normal, at 100.4 mm, according to the India Meteorological Department.