"26 July" has only one meaning in contemporary India—the day the city of Mumbai was brought to a standstill by catastrophic floods. 94 centimeters (37 inches) of rain fell in one day.

Photograph by Argo Pakkas, MyShot
  • Audience:

    On July 27, 2005, Mumbai, India, received a record amount of rainfall: 94 centimeters (37 inches). This is the most rain a megacity—an urban area with more than 10 million people—has ever seen in one day. The rain and resulting floods shut down the whole city, and hundreds of people died.

    India often has heavy rainfall during the summer monsoon, which brings warm, moist air from the Indian Ocean to coastal cities such as Mumbai. Even by monsoon standards, though, July 26 was devastating. Some scientists say the heavy rain was a combination of an unusual low-pressure system that formed north of Mumbai and the topography of the city, which is cinched between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats, a rainy mountain range.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    devastate Verb

    to destroy.

    flood Noun

    overflow of a body of water onto land.

    Encyclopedic Entry: flood
    low-pressure system Noun

    weather pattern characterized by low air pressure, usually as a result of warming. Low-pressure systems are often associated with storms.

    megacity Noun

    urban area of more than 10 million people characterized by rapid growth, unpredictable population distribution, formal and informal economies, and high levels of social fragmentation.

    monsoon Noun

    seasonal change in the direction of the prevailing winds of a region. Monsoon usually refers to the winds of the Indian Ocean and South Asia, which often bring heavy rains.

    Encyclopedic Entry: monsoon
    mountain range Noun

    series or chain of mountains that are close together.

    topography Noun

    the shape of the surface features of an area.

    urban area Noun

    developed, densely populated area where most inhabitants have nonagricultural jobs.

    Encyclopedic Entry: urban area