Residents wilting under the blistering heat were treated to torrential showers since the early hours of Wednesday providing them the much needed relief. Within hours, however, they were worried about flooded roads and uprooted trees.
A Meteorology Department official said cyclonic storm in May in Chennai is a pre-southwest monsoon phenomenon. Strong wind may continue on Thursday too though a decrease in rainfall may be expected, he added.
During the 24 hours ending 8.30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nungambakkam received 19.1 cm and Meenambakkam 15.5 cm of rainfall.
Since January 1, the observatories at Nungambakkam and Meenambakkam have received a rainfall of 20.8 cm and 17.4 cm respectively, the official added. Tambaram recorded 4.75 cm of rain in the 24-hour period ending 8 a.m. on Wednesday.
The city received a major share of the year's rainfall during the 24 hours, leaving several arterial roads such as Kodambakkam High Road, New Avadi Road, Poonamallee High Road and Nungambakkam High Road unfit for motoring.
Trees got uprooted due to heavy winds at several places, including Kilpauk, Velachery, Kodambakkam High Road, Ganesapuram and Vyasarpadi, causing disruption to road traffic since early on Wednesday.
“Due to the strong winds and continuous rain more than 70 trees were uprooted on Wednesday at different locations in the city,” said Mayor M. Subramanian.
Motorcyclists on several roads in Kilpauk and Kodambakkam waded through waist-deep water and many of the vehicles got stuck. Traffic piled up along the areas connecting West Mambalam to T.Nagar as the subways were flooded.
The slushy roads near the construction sites of bridges and other road projects posed difficulties to the motorists. Pedestrians too had a tough time negotiating trenches dug up for constructing stormwater drains in several areas, including on Rajiv Gandhi Salai. Manhole covers were removed to drain rainwater in several areas.
Lower evaporation loss
The rain, however, brought down the evaporation loss at the reservoirs, Chennai Metrowater officials said.
The waterbodies record about 40 per cent evaporation loss during peak summer.
While Red Hills reservoir recorded 7.1 cm rain during the 24 hours ending 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Chembarambakkam received 4.4 cm, Cholavaram 2.8 cm and Poondi 1.3 cm.
The four reservoirs used for city water supply received an inflow of 48 million cubic feet of water from the catchment areas. This is equal to two days of water supply, at the rate of 575 million litres a day.
The Chennai Corporation helpline – 1913 – received 136 rain-related complaints such as water stagnation on the roads, uprooting of trees and disruption in power supply.
In north Chennai, water stagnated in several stretches of Tiruvottiyur High Road and Manali Expressway. Corporation Commissioner Rajesh Lakhoni said water stagnated on some stretches of Santhome and Poonamallee High Road also.
“As the rain started in the night, mobilisation of motors was possible only in the morning. The RBI subway and Vyasarpadi subway have been cleared and traffic resumed,” he added.
A total of 62 motors were used to pump out water from flooded roads and subways. Mr.Subramanian, who visited several areas in the city, including Taramani, Velachery, Tondiarpet, MRC Nagar, said water had not entered residential areas.
The Chennai-Kochuveli Express scheduled to leave Chennai on Wednesday night was rescheduled to leave early on Thursday, according to sources.
On Wednesday, some express trains arrived late owing to the rain.
Suburban train commuters were put to hardship in the afternoon but Railway officials said normality was restored by evening.
(With inputs from K. Lakshmi, K. Manikandan, Ajai Sreevatsan, R. Sujatha and Deepa H Ramakrishnan)