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Highest-ever rain in India's history

By Ramola Talwar Badam in Mumbai
Last updated on: July 27, 2005 13:39 IST
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The highest-ever rainfall recorded in a single day in India shut down the financial hub of Mumbai, snapped communication lines, closed airports and forced thousands of people to sleep in their offices or walk home during the night, officials said Wednesday.

Troops were deployed after the sudden rains -- measuring up to 94.4 centimeters (37.1 inches) in one day in some areas of Mumbai -- stranded tens of thousands of people.

India's previous heaviest rainfall, recorded at Cherrapunji in the Meghalaya state, one of the rainiest places on Earth, was 83.82 centimeters (33 inches) on July 12, 1910, Sharma said.

"Most places in India don't receive this kind of rainfall in a year. This is the highest-ever recorded in India's history. We have to compare it with world records to find out if this was the highest in the world," RV Sharma, director of the meteorological department, told The Associated Press.

The All India Radio reported about 150,000 people were stranded in railway stations across Mumbai, India's main financial center.

Early Wednesday, Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, the state's top elected official, called the army, navy and home guards to help with the relief effort.

"Inflatable rafts will be used to reach stranded people. Please try to stay where you are and don't leave your homes," he said.

Tens of thousands of people were stranded for hours on roads in Bombay, and its airport -- one of the busiest in the country -- was shut Tuesday evening. All incoming flights were diverted to New Delhi and other airports.

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Ramola Talwar Badam in Mumbai
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