This Day in History (31-Jul-1861) – 9,300 mm rainfall in July in Cherrapunji becomes a world record

Cherrapunji (the old and lately returned name – Sohra), India, is one of the wettest places on Earth, thanks to monsoon rains each year. Cherrapunji is so wet because it gets an almost unimpeded flow of moisture from the Bay of Bengal across the lower elevations of Bangladesh to the south. The city sits on a plateau at about 4,869 feet (1,484 meters), so as the moist air pushes north, it is forced to rise quickly, which forces it to condense into clouds and rain. The moist air upslopes over the area as it attempts to rise into the Himalayas just north of Cherrapunji.

Cherrapunji holds the two-year world record for rainfall with 40,768 mm  of rain from August 1859 to July 1861, as per World Meteorological Organization (WMO). In the same period, it holds the records of rainfall for 12 months to 1 month (9300mm), all ending 31-Jul-1861. It also holds the world record 48-hour rainfall with a whopping 2,493 mm, of rain on June 15-16, 1995, as announced by WMO.

By average annual rainfall, the wettest place is Mawsynram with 11,873 of rain per annum. The second rainiest place is Cherrapunji with an average annual rainfall of 11,430 mm per year, which can actually suffer drought outside the monsoon season. Both the places are in Meghalaya which means ‘land of the clouds’. Powerful rains and high cliffs lead to another spectacular phenomenon – tall waterfalls. Khasi Hills contain several of the most impressive waterfalls of India. Especially great are the approximately 335 m tall Nohkalikai Falls near Cherrapunji.



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