The city received the much-awaited seasonal rain on Wednesday with several localities registering sharp showers. Officials of the Meteorological Department said it was a precursor to northeast monsoon, which is expected to set in, in a few days.
While the observatory in Nungambakkam registered a rainfall of 14.2 mm, the facility in Meenambakkam recorded 6.4 mm till 8.30 a.m. on Wednesday. During the 12-hour period ending 8.30 p.m., it was 26.4 mm in Nungambakkam and 5.7 mm in Meenambakkam.
Meteorological Department officials attributed the rain to a low-level trough formed over easterlies off the Sri Lankan coast over Southwest Bay of Bengal.
The Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Y. E. A. Raj, said the monsoon was still in the process of setting in and it would be determined, based on the rainfall on Thursday. Only 33 per cent of coastal Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, received rainfall on Wednesday. An increase in cloud formation was witnessed in coastal region from the South Andhra Pradesh coast to Vedaranyam and is expected to bring more rainfall.
Traffic thrown out of gear
But the sharp showers were enough to throw life out of gear in several areas, particularly during the rush hour. Vehicular movement was affected in various places, including Nungambakkam, Vadapalani, Nandanam, Saidapet, Purasawalkam and Adyar.
Traffic on the Aranganathan and Duraisamy subways in Saidapet and T.Nagar was reduced to a crawl because of the incessant rain and resultant water-logging. Commuters complained that it was a regular feature during every monsoon and that the Chennai Corporation had not learnt from its previous experiences.
The incomplete construction of stormwater drain (SWD) in areas such as Nungambakkam and T.Nagar added to the woes of the commuters. Harini Sriram of Mylapore said the locality smells bad because of frequent mixing of rainwater and sewage in the SWD.
Traffic on the Velachery Bypass Road, particularly near the Metrowater filling station, was in a bad condition after the morning showers. Residents complained that mounds of sludge were left uncleared at some places. The Public Works Department had desilted the Velachery canal a few weeks ago. However, department officials said the silt removed from waterways would be cleared after it dried up.
S. Kumararaja, secretary of the Federation of Velachery Welfare Associations, said the Corporation had not kept its promise to construct the SWD network in the area to check inundation.
Meanwhile, the Corporation has started operating a 24-hour helpline at Ripon Building and keeping a team of personnel ready for removing uprooted trees.
Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni said 100 pumps had been kept ready to bale out water. Staff have been posted at vehicular subways at night to pump out rainwater immediately. Intensive water quality monitoring was also being done.
He said that the Mambalam and Nandanam canals had been desilted and it is expected to reduce water-logging on G. N. Chetty Road.
The showers in the southern suburbs were welcomed by residents affected by acute water scarcity. Among the most relieved were residents of water-starved pockets such as Medavakkam as even 200-foot-deep borewells had dried up recently. They had been spending Rs.1,000 as charges for a tanker load of water.
The Meteorological Department forecasts spells of rain or thunder showers on Thursday.
Kancheepuram reporter writes:
Walls of group houses at Thaiyur near Kelambakkam developed cracks owing to a heavy thundershower that lashed their area in the early hours on Wednesday.
Enquiries reveal that Thaiyur and surrounding areas experienced heavy shower with thunder and lightning on Tuesday night. While some of the group houses in the area developed cracks, thatched sheds used to put up cattle were burnt due to lightning. However, no casualty was reported, official sources said.