Water stagnation, overflowing drains and traffic snarls were the order of the day
An overcast sky and incessant showers through the day that turned into a downpour in the evening on Friday paralysed traffic and life in the city. Damaged roads, overstrained storm-water drain network and water logging aggravated the woes of those on the road. The Meteorological Department attributed the heavy rain to the trough of low pressure in the Bay of Bengal.
The city received only 6.6 mm of rainfall in Nungambakkam and 8.2 mm in Meenambakkam between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. However, in the 12-hour period ending 8.30 p.m. the rainfall in Nungambakkam was 39.4 mm and 35.2 mm. in Meenambakkam. The rain brought down the temperature by around three degrees with Nungambakkam recording a maximum of 27.1 degree Celsius and Meenambakkam, 26.7 degree Celsius.
As it rained heavily for the third consecutive day, low-level areas went under sheets of water. Several localities in suburban Ambattur and Korattur were marooned due to surplus water from neighbouring channels.
On several roads, including on Anna Nagar 2nd Avenue, pot holes that were filled with stones resulted in minor accidents. Senior citizens complained that it was unsafe to walk on the roads, as pavements were also submerged under water.
The black topping on many major roads, including in Kodambakkam, Kellys, Anna Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur, CTH Road and Velachery, wore off with constant battering by the rain. In the southern suburb of Keezhkattalai, the Medavakkam High Road was badly damaged, slowing down vehicles considerably.
In many residential areas water stagnation was an issue. Sulochana, a resident of Gandhi Nagar Main Road in Virugambakkam, said that as her road was at a lower level than others in the neighbourhood, it was inundated.
With many schools including those run by the Chennai Corporation declaring a holiday, children had a field day riding bicycles in the water and fishing in canals.
But the Marina beach wore a deserted look with just a few visitors trickling in. The showers had affected the business of many small vendors on the beach. S.Parameshwari, a petty shop owner said, “I opened the shop only in the afternoon after the sky cleared slightly. But the sale has been very dull.”
Traffic pile ups continued to be the city’s major problem on Friday as vehicles moved at a slow pace on many arterial roads. The morning downpour resulted in traffic snarls at many busy junctions, including the Kathipara junction, Grand North Trunk Road and Tondiarpet High Road. Ambulances had a tough time navigating through stranded vehicles.
A commuter from Nandambakkam said he was late for work by more than 45 minutes due to a traffic jam. The flyover under construction at Kotturpuram rendered the service road unusable. As vehicles slowed down to navigate the stretch where huge tunnels have been dug up, traffic was held up. The incomplete work to construct stormwater drain in several stretches, including Harrington Road in Chetpet, near Panagal Park and along the Bashyam Road-Prakasam Road junction in T.Nagar had rendered several roads unmotorable. Since the footpaths have not been maintained properly, pedestrians were forced to walk in the middle of the road or are pushed to the road margins where water stagnated.
Similarly, motorists had a tough task negotiating Taramani Velachery Link Road. The potholes that have surfaced following the rains turned the road, that is being widened, a challenging stretch to cross.
The prices of vegetables shot up due to the monsoon rains. Traders at the Koyambedu wholesale market said the prices of onions and tomatoes were Rs.20 a kg and Rs.17 per kg respectively. Potatoes and carrots were priced at Rs.22 per kg in the wholesale market.
S.Chandran, a wholesale trader, said the market received only 350 lorry loads of vegetables on Friday against the normal supply of 450 lorry loads. Traders reported a drop in their sales by almost 30 per cent.
Many hawkers in Broadway, Retteri, Vysarpadi and Koyambedu had to close shop early due to intermittent showers, except those selling umbrellas and raincoats.
Mayor M.Subramanian inspected several areas, including Postal Colony in West Mambalam, Parankusapuram in Kodambakkam and SAF Games Village in Koyambedu, Ayanavaram and Virugambakkam. He said the Chennai Corporation had extended the stormwater drain network by 150 km in the last three years.
The civic body is fully geared to meet any exigency due to the monsoon.
Meanwhile, officials of School Education department said State government schools would function on Saturday. The forecast for Saturday is generally cloudy with a few rain spells, heavy at times.