Chennai rain updates: IMD issues red alert in parts of Tamil Nadu; depression about 130 km east-southeast of Chennai


The depression over Bay of Bengal will cross the coast between north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh this evening and Chennai will witness "strong" winds up to 45 km, the weather office said on Thursday. Meanwhile, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert, indicating heavy to extremely heavy rainfall, in parts of Tamil Nadu, including northern Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengelpet, Kancheepuram, Ranipet, Villupuram and Cuddalore districts.

Weather Update

Most districts in northern Tamil Nadu including Chennai are likely to receive heavy to very heavy rainfall, deputy director general of meteorology, S Balachandran said, even as the city and its suburbs received sharp showers all through the night and on Thursday morning as well.

The depression over southwest Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 21 kmph during past six hours and lay centered at 5.30 am on Thursday over southwest Bay of Bengal, about 170 km east-southeast of Chennai and 170 km east of Puducherry, the India Meteorological Department said in a bulletin issued at 8.30 am.

"It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts around Chennai by the evening of today," it added. As a result, Balachandran said, Chennai would witness "strong surface winds" ranging between 40-45 km. "People should not venture out unnecessarily," he told reporters.

Citing latest rainfall data, he said Tambaram (Chengalpet dt) received 232.9 mm, followed by Cholavaram (220 mm) and Ennore at 205 mm. Chennai (Nungambakkam) recorded 158 mm. The system was being constantly monitored, he said in response to a question.

Rains continued to lash various parts of the city and its suburbs on Thursday, leading to inundation in many areas like KK Nagar even as a number of subways and roads in many parts of the metro were closed for vehicular traffic.

Police said trees were uprooted in places like Egmore and Perambur.

Personnel of Greater Chennai Corporation, police, NDRF and Fire and Rescue Services were involved in various relief and rescue work, including pumping out stagnant water.

The north-east monsoon, which brings the bulk of rainfall to Tamil Nadu, has been active for the past fortnight and many parts have been receiving incessant rainfall since Sunday. Most of the water bodies in the state, including the reservoirs meeting the drinking water needs of Chennai, the Mettur Dam in Salem and others are full and excess water is being released from most of them.

Chief Minister's Response

Meanwhile, Stalin spoke to ministers and special officers deputed to manage the rain-related issues in various districts and reviewed the situation with them, an official release said. He directed them to expedite the relief activities and ensure provision of quality food and medical facilities in relief camps.

He further wanted the authorities concerned to take steps to prevent crop loss. He also held a review meeting with top state government officials including Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu. The chief minister also ordered constituting a six-member ministerial panel, headed by Cooperatives Minister I Periyasamy, to assess crop damage, especially in the Cauvery delta region, and submit a report to the government to expedite relief work, the release added.

The Plight

So far, at least 14 people and 157 cattle have died. Besides, 1,146 huts and 237 houses have been damaged in Tamil Nadu due to the incessant rains. Power supply has been disconnected from more than 65,000 houses in Chennai.

Several roads in Chennai are inundated and the traffic police has closed at least seven roads and 11 subways, and created diversions across the city for commuters. Due to waterlogging on rail tracks, some suburban trains were suspended while others were delayed. The Airport Authority of India said flights operations were normal, and special arrangements were being made at airports due to the adverse weather conditions.

Around 10 arrivals and 10 departures were delayed and four flights were diverted to Bengaluru and Hyderabad because of heavy rain at Chennai airport on Thursday morning. One flight each from Mumbai and Kolkata were diverted to Hyderabad while one from Trichy and another from Delhi were diverted to Bengaluru. A few departures have been postponed to later in the day.

The Onset

Since 6 November, Chennai and its neighboring districts Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu, Karaikal, Tiruvallur have been witnessing heavy downpours.  The city witnessed the highest rainfall in a single day since 2015 due to the northeast monsoon, which has been impacted by continued La Nina, a complex weather pattern caused by variations in ocean temperatures in the equatorial band of the Pacific Ocean.

For 24-hours from 8.30 am on 6 November, Chennai received 210 mm of rainfall, according to the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC). “This is also the highest amount of rainfall recorded in a single day in Chennai since 2015 (when it rained 494 mm on 1 December),” said deputy director of RMC, N Puviarasan.

On 6 November, 2015, Chennai received 246.5 mm of rainfall on a single day--which was the highest in the last ten years registered solely for November then. Following that, in 2017 and 2020 November, the city recorded 182.7mm and 161.8mm of rainfall in November. “These rains would be classified as an extreme weather event in Chennai as rainfall has crossed 20cm,” said Puviarasan. The record rainfall for the month is 452 mm, in 1976 on 26 November.

With input from agencies

Also read: Action replay of 2015 floods! No lessons learnt as Chennai submerges again

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Chennai rain updates: IMD issues red alert in parts of Tamil Nadu; depression about 130 km east-southeast of Chennai
Chennai rain updates: IMD issues red alert in parts of Tamil Nadu; depression about 130 km east-southeast of Chennai
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