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Mumbai braces for more rain after heaviest downpour in 12 years

[MUMBAI] India's weather office forecast "heavy to very heavy" rainfall for parts of Mumbai a day after the nation's commercial capital suffered the worst downpour since 2005.

The city's Santacruz weather center recorded 33.1cm of rain in 24 hours that ended at 8.30 am on Wednesday, the most since 94.4 centimeters of precipitation recorded 12 years ago. Authorities asked residents to stay at home even as suburban train services, which carry 8 million passengers daily, resumed services. Jet Airways India Ltd canceled 12 flights from Mumbai citing weather conditions, while the Mumbai airport said it was was functioning normally.

"Trading volumes will remain weak as most market participants couldn't turn up at their offices," said Nilesh Dedhia, director at NTD Trading. "Most offices remain thinly attended as employees stay far from their offices."

Trading volumes on the National Stock Exchange's NSE 50 Nifty Index were 27 per cent below the 30-day average as of 11.13 am local time. Residents in the city, home to the nation's central bank, stock exchanges and the Indian headquarters of Novartis AG and Citigroup Inc, walked home, hitched rides on trucks or spend the night in their offices as the deluge evoked memories of the flooding in 2005 caused by a cloudburst that dumped three feet of rain on a single day, killing 570 people, grounding flights and cutting off rail and road links.

"Activity in the bond market is low, there are few quotes, fewer deals in corporate bonds," said Sandeep Bagla, associate director at Trust Capital Services Pvt. in Mumbai. "Few dealers are on desk, with the intention of deploying overnight cash as banking has been kept open." The Nifty Index rose 0.8 per cent, while the rupee advanced 0.1 per cent.

"Stay indoors as far as possible," Mumbai police said in a Twitter post. "Move out only if it is very important. Due to waterlogged roads, traffic not moving and slow at most places." Rain was 4 per cent below normal across the country since June 1, according to the India Meteorological Department. About 83 per cent of the country received normal to excess showers during the period while rest got deficient rain, it said.