Highest rainfall of 16 cm recorded on a single day in August in 40 years

The limitations of the civic infrastructure and the preparedness level of the government agencies to tackle sudden heavy rainfall came to the fore for the second time in less than a week when the city received a record 16 cm rain from Wednesday evening.

The incessant rainfall, which lasted till the early hours of Thursday, left many low-lying areas inundated, turned unmotorable many stretches of arterial roads, including Anna Salai, and proved to be a cause of traffic snarls in the morning too.

Meteorological Department officials said the observatory in Nungambakkam recorded nearly 16 cm of rainfall in the 24 hours ending 8.30 a.m. on Thursday. This was the highest registered on a single day in August over the past 40 years.

The draining of the rainwater from arterial roads, in the morning, was hardly something to cheer for the road users as the overnight rain had considerably damaged many stretches, posing dangers and increasing their travel time. The condition of Arcot Road, Sardar Patel Road, RK Mutt Road and Taramani Link Road worsened after the rain.

Conservancy workers had their hands full as the overnight rain tossed garbage from one place to another.

On Thursday morning, motorists had to wait for over an hour in inching traffic on important roads such as Nelson Manickam Road, Poonamallee High Road, Erukkancheri High Road and Anna Salai. D.Soundarya of Porur, said “I was stranded on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai for over two hours as traffic moved at a snail's pace from Kathipara junction to Koyambedu.”

Councillors who participated in the ward committee meeting at Pulianthope Zone complained that water logging forced them to take a two-km detour via Perambur flyover to reach the zone office on Perambur Barracks Road.

Traffic was blocked on Perambur Barracks Road, Pulianthope High Road, Stephenson Road and B.B. Road as motorists had to negotiate knee-deep water. Fish cart drivers in Vyasarpadi made brisk business by transporting two wheelers from the inundated Ganesapuram subway. M.Prakash, a fish-cart driver, said “I carry goods for nearby companies. I came here early morning to transport motorcycles and scooters. I charge Rs.50 per trip.”

The inundated wholesale market in Koyambedu witnessed dull sales on Thursday as customers hesitated to walk in slushy premises. Trains to Chennai Central and Chennai Egmore railway stations were also delayed by 15 minutes. Chennai Corporation's helpline received 145 calls about uprooting of trees in 18 places and piling up of garbage and flooding in areas, including Triplicane, Purasawalkam and Villivakkam. Police personnel had to guard the road at Kandasamy Nagar, Palavakkam, where a live wire had fallen on the stagnant water.

Though many parts of the southern suburbs also received rainfall, the observatory at Meenambakkam recorded only 16.3 mm till 8.30 a.m. on Thursday.

Y.E.A. Raj, Deputy Director General of Meteorology, said the rainfall was due to intense thunderstorm activity. Such volume of rainfall in August is unusual. While Arumbakkam, Mylapore, Kilpauk and Guindy received 15-16 cm of rainfall, the weather stations at Ennore and Madhavaram received only 14 mm and 8 mm of rainfall respectively. “The rainfall pattern in the city was not uniform,” he added. During the 12-hour period ending 8.30 a.m. on August 19, the city received nearly 7 cm rainfall.

The previous highest on a single day in August was on the 20{+t}{+h} of the month in 2008, when it rained 100.3 mm. The department forecasts rain or thundershowers in some areas on Friday.