Tuesday’s worst downpour battered Chennai city with a 20 cm rainfall in 14 hours since 8.30am left more than half of the city marooned.
The Tamil Nadu government has announced holiday for schools and colleges while most of all the factories and offices too closed.
By Tuesday noon, power supply was suspended in almost 60% of the city locations. As the water level is increasing, several hospitals stopped functioning. The city airport was temporarily shut till Wednesday morning and the operations will resume only after a review meeting by the airport director assess the safety of runways as the water from Adyar river had started entering the runways and parking bays.
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Residents in southern suburbs were the worst affected. When thousands of people who went to the city for work on Tuesday were stranded at different points en route to their home after bus and train services stopped. Tambaram and Mudichur areas were maximum affected with hundreds of houses submerged in water. Southern suburban railway stations were flooded people after many who had to reach further southern suburbs could not find vehicles. The main GST road, connecting city with southern districts is fully cut off from the main city and vehicles were seen floating on the road by Tuesday night.
All flight operations at the Chennai airport were suspended until further orders after the runway and the tarmac were flooded. Since Tuesday morning, Chennai has received 12 cm rainfall; its suburbs have received 18 cm.
Showers also lashed Tamil Nadu’s northern districts and areas in Puducherry, disrupting flight movement and leaving several areas inundated. The meteorological office said the trough of low pressure was now over the southwest bay adjoining Sri Lanka off Tamil Nadu, and would bring more rain Wednesday. “Scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall over coastal districts is expected,” said a meteorological department official. Thambi Narayanan, deputy director general, meteorological department, Chennai said heavy rainfall was expected in the state for the next three days.
When southern suburbs including Velachery, Tambaram and Peringalathur were fully cut off from the main city, life of people along Anna Salai, GST Road, OMR, Poonamallee High Road and Jawaharlal Nehru Salai were also thrown out of gear. Roads reported caved in at several stretches. Several companies in the industrial belt in Old Mahabalipuram Road have announced holidays for the next three days.
With the Tuesday’s rain had revealed the most devastating impacts in the life of people, hundreds have joined in social media offering help or shelter or food for the affected. One resident in the city offered to recharge the phones of people in distress, another offered a generator in T Nagar, and several messages in Whatsapp, Twitter and Facebook offered shelters. The government has formally opened some 40 shelters in the city besides hundreds of people who took shelters in railway stations and bus shelters. Although several educational institutions informally expressed their willingness to share their space for stranded people, lack of effective communication systems with the government and corporation had failed the needy to access them.
When thousands in the city suburbs were seen fleeced by private vans and autos to commute late on Tuesday night, Tambaram, Pallavaram and Vadapalani were seen with dozens of Metropolitan Development Corporation (MTC) buses were parked on the roadsides. In absence of public transport, private vehicles and autos were charging upto Rs300-500 to commute a stretch of 2-5kms.
Flood warnings have already issued and thousands of people had been shifted from homes after major lakes in the city vicinity had been breached and flooded residential areas in the southern suburbs. Water from Guduvanchery , Urapakkam, Perungalathur, Padappai, Mannivakkam and Adhanur lakes had entered residential areas by Tuesday night.
Southern Railways cancelled all major train services to southern districts including 12 express trains on Tuesday and six on Wednesday. More cancellations are expected as the Tambaram station is cut off from the main lane connecting the Egmore station, the main station in the city originating trains bound to south.
Breaking the record of 108.8cm in 1918, the Met office registered 119.73cm rain in Tamil Nadu till November 30. However, the record of maximum rainfall in a single day, 45cm in 24 hours, hasn’t shattered yet.
Met office observes rainclouds with a radius of 100km have surrounded Chennai and the rain is likely to continue till Thursday with same intensity.
HELPLINE: Tree fall, Water logging: 1913 Sewage overflow: 45674567, 22200335 State emergency: 1070 District Emergency: 1077 Electricity: 1912 Fire & Rescue: 101