On Cherrapunjee’s rainfall
The most remarkable phenomenon of any kind in the country is undoubtedly the quantity of rain, which falls at Cherra. On a certain occasion thirty inches (769 mm) of rain is said to have fallen at Genoa in 24 hours, and the statement has been doubted; but no one who has measured the amount of rain in the Kasia Hills, can doubt the possibility at least of such a quantity. It is with hesitation that I write it, but the unexceptional mode of measurement, and the many times that I have seen my friend (still resident at Cherra) who registered the fall, take these remarkable gauges, leave me no room to doubt. In the month of August 1841, during the successive days, thirty inches (769 mm) of rain in the 24 hours fell at Cherra; and the total fall in the month of August was 264 inches (6769 mm); or, that there may be no mistake, twenty-two feet of rain. The gauge was simply a large glass jar, having a funnel fitted with projecting eaves; and the water was measured morning and evening with a cylinder three inches in depth, of equal diameter with the funnel.
During the heavy rains above-mentioned, the proportion of the fall by night to that by day were generally 18 to 12.
The thunder-storms in the months of March and April, last for many hours, and are tremendous indeed, but I do not know that they are more so in the hills than below. Several of the houses in the little stations have been struck by lightning, and during a residence of 18 months there was one fatal accident. In a still afternoon, whilst black clouds were sailing up, and for several minutes before the storm reached us, I have heard, as the prophet did on Carmel, “the sound of abundance of rain,” a peculiar rustling sound from the rain quarter. It might possibly have been the fall of the heavy drops on the leaves of the jungle, but once again in a still cloudy day heard the same rustling sound, somewhat like the flight of many birds, directly over my tent, and the Kasias said immediately that rain was coming, but no rain fell.