Last year, the highest rainfall recorded in September was 6 cm. The city received 8.8 cm of rainfall in September 2013, which was the highest rainfall recorded on a single day till yesterday. Most parts of the city received heavy rainfall including the suburbs. Various parts of the city including Meenambakam, Nungambakkam, Guindy, Koyambedu, Kolathur, Virugambakkam, and Pallavaram received heavy rains which led to waterlogging causing traffic congestions.
There were various accidents around the city including collapse of buildings and electric poles which led to death of a woman in Mannadi and loss of property in some of the cases. The Meteorological office attributed the heavy rains to the presence of an upper air cyclonic circulation off south Andhra Pradesh coast that aided widespread thunderstorm activity across Chennai and neighbouring districts. The northern parts of Tamil Nadu received very heavy rainfall with Tiruvallur receiving a maximum of 22 cm of rainfall, while, Vellore received a minimum of 17 cm of rainfall. Meanwhile, Kancheepuram, Dindigul, Perambalur, Salem, Dharmapuri and Virudhunagar, received at least 5 cm of rainfall each.
The regional Met department issued a heavy rainfall warning in several districts as TN is expected to receive widespread rains furthermore.
Chennai received its heaviest rainfall of the year and normalcy was hit in several parts of the city, owing to clogged storm water drains and potholes on interior roads, on Thursday morning.
According to the Regional Meteorological Centre’s data, the city received more than 100 mm of rainfall, starting from Wednesday midnight to Thursday morning. “Office goers suffered due to water stagnation on the roads as it resulted in traffic snarls during peak hours. Water-filled potholes have become a huge problem,” S Sivakumar, a resident of Choolaimedu, said.
Vehicles and pedestrians on a flooded road at Ayanavaram on Thursday
Workers remove fallen tree on EVK Sampath Salai
The sudden rain caught the civic body off guard as it is yet to start desilting of storm water drains and remove weak trees apart from pruning vulnerable branches. The heavy rain uprooted 18 trees across the city and “all of them were removed to restore traffic,” an official said.
Pointing out the Chennai Corporation’s inaction in desilting and repairing storm water drains, commuters said stagnation remained for several hours in areas including Broadway, Gengu Reddy Subway in Chetpet, Saidapet and other parts.
As per the data compiled by the Chennai Corporation, water stagnation was reported in 14 locations such as Thiruvallur Nagar in Tondiarpet, Paper Mills Road, Cemetry Road, Arcot Road near Koyambedu Market and Porur Junction. Near Koyambedu Market, water was stagnated for a depth of eight inches. “We have deployed several motor pumps and removed water from all the identified spots,” an official said.
Even though the civic body has constructed new storm water drains in many parts of the city, it failed to allow free flow of rainwater. due to clogging at the inlets. “If the mud and soil were removed from the inlet pipes, the water would have moved freely. All the money spent on new storm water drains went useless,” another resident said.
Meanwhile, the Chennai Corporation, in a bid to gearing up for the northeast monsoon, had floated several tenders to repair and desilt storm water drains.
According to Commissionerate of Revenue Administration and Disaster Management data, Ayanavaram received 96 mm of rainfall, which is the highest in Chennai district. Perambur and Ambattur recorded 88 mm and 85 mm respectively. Twelve locations, where the Commissionerate has rain gauges, received 821 mm of rainfall.
Flooded Tiruvanmiyur bus depot
Bone dry lakes receive water
After remained bone dry for several weeks, the major lakes that supply drinking water to the metropolis are receiving a significant amount of water. Thanks to the heavy rains in catchment areas.
According to a Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Metrowater) official, Red Hills lake received 400 cusecs of water till Thursday morning, while Poondi lake received 100 cusecs of water. Even though Chembarambakkam lake was shunned by the rains, Cholavaram lake received 300 cusecs to 400 cusecs of water.
“There has been no inflow to the lakes for several months. Rains in the catchment areas provided a significant amount of water but we cannot draw the water for distribution. However, the rains would have saturated the ground, which would result in storing rainwater during future rains. Two or three similar spells will provide three to four days of water to the city,” the official added.
As per Metrowater data, Poondi received 206 mm of rainfall and Cholavaram recorded 135 mm. Red Hills and Tamaraipakkam recorded 96 mm and 154 mm rainfall respectively. Among the four lakes, Chembarambakkam was the only lake that received very little rainfall (29 mm).
Another official said that the total storage capacity of the four lakes is 11.25 TMC. “Even excess rainfall during northeast monsoon could not brim the lakes. Earlier, lakes would have some water and seasonal rainfall would fill them. Now, they are bone dry,” he added.
Car, bike burned as snapped EB wire falls
A car and a bike gutted in fire after an overhead EB wire snapped and fell the vehicles on Thursday. The vehicles belonged to Udayakumar (35), who runs an AC service centre in Nanganalur. He had parked his car and two-wheeler in front of the shop on Wednesday night. When it rained, an overhead cable got disconnected and fell on the two-wheeler and it caught fire. The police said that the two-wheeler was completely gutted in the fire while the car was half burnt. The Pazhavanthangal police have registered a case and enquiring. In a similar incident, a tree uprooted near Madipakkam and fell on an EB pole, leading it to crash. Though no casualties were reported, it led to short circuit and transformer burst.
The fallen electric pole near Madipakkam
Baggage trays used to catch drips at leaky airport
After the rain on Thursday morning, the domestic terminal of the airport started leaking. Staff at the airport had to place plastic baggage trays to collect the rainwater.
Sources said that passengers at the airport were shocked to see the leaking roof at the departure lounge of the terminal. The Chennai airport was reopened in January 2013 after the expansion work. From then on, the glass doors, windows and false ceiling have been falling and shattering, risking passengers’ security. Till now, 89 such incidents have been reported and 27 people, including passengers and staffs, had suffered minor injuries. For the past six months, there were no such incidents reported from the airport but on Thursday morning the leaking roofs frustrated many passengers.
DMK MP Kanimozhi, who arrived at the airport around 5 am to boarding a flight to Delhi, saw the leak and enquired the officials. She also posted the pictures on Twitter and Facebook. “First it was the ceiling falling. Now, the roof has turned into showers. Plastic containers have been placed to collect the water dripping from above due to rains,” she wrote in a post. When contacted, airport director S Shreekumar said, “As the airport does not have concrete roofing, it leaks at times. This leakage started only at midnight and works are in progress to repair the leakage” he said.
Plastic baggage trays placed at the airport to collect rainwater
Woman killed as roof collapses in Mannadi
A 42-year-old woman died as the tiled roof of her house collapsed in Mannadi in the early hours of Thursday due to the sudden downpour across the city.
The deceased was identified as Jerina Banu. Her son Leninkumar, daughter Naslim Fathima and mother Vasantha escaped unhurt though they were sleeping next to her.
Around 4 am, the tiled roof and one of the walls holding the roof collapsed and fell on Jerina Banu. She suffered grievous injuries on her head and died on the spot.
On hearing the noise, neighbours rushed to the spot and on information, the Esplanade police, too, reached the spot. Her body was sent to Government Stanley Hospital for post-mortem examination.
Preliminary inquiry revealed that the house was already damaged where Jerina Banu and her family were living in the house for about 20 years. While Jerina Banu’s husband died 20 years ago, she managed to educate her two children by working in different places. It is said that the land belongs to a temple in the locality. The Esplanade police have registered a case and further inquiry is on.
Hospital shifts patients after wall collapse, power outage
Twenty-two patients admitted to a private hospital in Anna Nagar were shifted out, some of them to other hospitals, after a compound wall of the facility collapsed on to a Tangedco junction box, leading to a power outage in the locality on Thursday.
The compound wall at the rear of Sundaram Medical Foundation Hospital collapsed around 2.30 am due to heavy rain. As the wall fell on three 10-feet tall Tangedco junction boxed behind the wall, power supply to the hospital was suspended. Adding to that, the hospital was surrounded by water up to one foot and authorities decided to shift patients out of the hospital.
Twelve male patients, nine female patients and a child were shifted to Apollo Hospital in Vanagaram, MGM Hospital on Nelson Manickam Road and Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital at Nungambakkam. Some patients were shifted to the AE block of the Sundaram Medical Foundation Hospital itself. Both 108 ambulances and private ambulances were used to shift the patients. While TNFRS personnel from JJ Nagar rushed to the spot to ensure that fire does not break out due to the wall collapse, the Anna Nagar police registered a case and further inquiry is on.
However, the hospital authorities at the Sundaram Medical Foundation said that all patients are safe and were shifted to other hospitals on a precautionary note as there was water logging inside the hospital premises. “We visited all the patients in other hospitals and they are comfortable there. The hospitals are cooperative and the power supply will be restored within a day,” said a spokesperson from the hospital.
Waterlogging outside Sundaram Medical Foundation Hospital
TN’s app for flood-prone areas gets accolades
The digitisation of location-based geo-information of rivers, lakes, arterial roads, railway and flood-prone areas by the Tamil Nadu State disaster management authority (TNSDMA) which is now shared through the TNSMART mobile app, has won an international laurel from the United Nations Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).
UNESCAP in its report has mentioned about the unique alarm system built into the mobile app by TN authorities. “The alarm in the application will alert mobile phones even if the phone is on silent mode. More than 2.15 lakh users have downloaded the application including 1.28 lakh people from the State,” said K Sathyagopal, commissioner of revenue administration and State disaster management authority.
The alarm will stop only after the alert has been acknowledged by the users. This ensures timely dissemination of critical warning of information related to disasters like Tsunami, floods, cyclone and earthquakes, he added.
The alarm will be region specific as per the vulnerable locations. For example, in case of floods in Cuddalore or a Tsunami in Chennai, the alert will be triggered through an app in the phone used in that particular region, he explained.
The app’s data source includes geospatial systems, remote sensing, satellite imageries, UAV, Light detection and ranging (LIDAR), and telemetry technology.