In rains leading up to the monsoon, the city is already unravelling, with waterlogged roads, power cuts and traffic chaos
Heavy rains on Wednesday night and Thursday morning were a fantastic precursor to the northeast monsoon. But they also provided a glimpse into the woes that residents experience after every severe shower.
The rains, accompanied by thunder and lightning, left several arterial roads in the city waterlogged, inundated subways, slowed traffic to a crawl and also led to unannounced power cuts in some suburbs.
A trough over the Bay of Bengal brought in the rain on Thursday. However, the meteorological department has not declared the onset of the northeast monsoon as of yet. Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, regional meteorological centre, Chennai, said the first spell of the monsoon usually caused rains over coastal Tamil Nadu and adjoining areas such as coastal Andhra Pradesh, parts of Rayalaseema and Kerala. But Thursday’s rainfall did not spill over to the other regions.
As weather models indicate that rains will spread to neighbouring regions on Friday, the onset of the monsoon may be declared on Friday or Saturday, he added.
Meanwhile, residents of Mogappair Road, Padi went on a road roko on Thursday, as they fed up with the authorities’ negligence of civic amenities in their locality. K. Mani, a resident, said their area got waterlogged even after a short spell of rain. As the stormwater drain work has been left incomplete, there is no vent for the rainwater to drain into. The road has also not had a blacktop for the past few years.
The residents dispersed after Chennai Corporation officials assured them the road would be laid.
Some city schools had declared a holiday on Thursday, following forecasts of rains to continue through the day. Several office-goers had to manoeuvre through heavy traffic on inundated arterial roads. Aparna Suresh, a resident of Mandaveli, said: “It took me more than half an hour to travel 7 km and reach my office as the streets were flooded.”
Motorists who travelled through chronically-inundated stretches, such as Poonamallee High Road, Vadapalani, South Boag Road, Choolai High Road and Konnur High Road, were stuck in serpentine traffic snarls.
Areas in Kolathur and the southern suburbs, including Chitlapakkam had unannounced power cuts for a few hours in the morning. Some banks in Pattabiram could not function for a few hours, as their telephone lines went dead. A few subways also became waterlogged. The subway at the Basin Bridge junction had knee-deep water that commuters were forced to wade through. “We have become used to walking through filthy water whenever it rains. Even mild showers flood the subways here,” said J.P. Thygarajan, a resident of Vyasarpadi.
The subway near Perambur junction was similarly flooded. It was only around 11 a.m. that Corporation staff arrived to drain out the water. “Thanks to the condition of the subway, I have to go to my job interview a set of spare clothes,” said R. Sajith, a resident of Perambur.
Meteorological department officials said the rains will continue until October 23. Residents across the State may now check for rain forecasts on www.imdchennai.gov.in for their districts. On Friday, there is a probability of very heavy rain over Chennai.
(With inputs from Sunitha Sekar)