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.

devastate
Verb

to destroy.

Noun

overflow of a body of water onto land.

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.

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.

mountain range
Noun

series or chain of mountains that are close together.

topography
Noun

the shape of the surface features of an area.

Noun

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

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