S. Sundar

Highest inflow of the season into the reservoir following rain in catchment areas; causeways in the city cut off

MADURAI: A late night heavy downpour in its catchment areas triggered a flood in the Vaigai river on Wednesday.

Since the level in the Vaigai dam had touched the 69-feet mark only by Tuesday morning, the Public Works Department officials started releasing the entire inflow that varied between 21,750 cusecs and 8,400 cusecs between 12.45 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Though water had been overflowing from the dam for eight days till November 16, the river did not witness such a wild run. There were occasions when gushing waters flowed just touching the causeways in the past. But on Wednesday, it submerged all the causeways within couple of hours after entering the city.

Sharp showers in the Western Ghats, along with the 100-odd mm of rainfall recorded in Uthamapalayam and Mayiladumparai, saw the dam receiving the highest inflow of the season, leading to the spate.

The floodwaters in the Vaigai entered the city areas at around 3.30 p.m. with a huge force. Within two hours it submerged the Aruldosspuram and Obulapadithurai causeway in quick succession.

The inflow at Virahanoor regulator (downstream) that was just over 4,000 cusecs at 4 p.m., shot up to 7,715 cusecs at 7 p.m. It further jumped to 10,808 cusecs at 8 p.m. and remained static till 10 p.m.

As the level rose, the city police closed all the approach roads to the causeways as a precautionary measure.

The commandos of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue service personnel were monitoring the flow and three fire tenders were stationed along the banks.

The swell

The inflow into Vaigai dam (in cusecs): 12.45 a.m.- 21,750; 1.15 a.m.-16,599; 1.30 a.m.- 8,400; 1.45 a.m.-10,200; 2 a.m.-13,928; 2.30 a.m.- 16,599; 5 a.m. - 11,195 cusecs. The inflow into the dam receded at 7 p.m., to stand at 4,304 cusecs.

Water level

The level in the Periyar dam on Wednesday stood at 138.80 feet with an inflow of 5,717 cusecs. A total of 5,046 cusecs was overflowing into Kerala side and 750 cusecs was being drawn through the tunnel into Tamil Nadu. The combined Periyar credit crossed the five-digit-mark for the first time in the recent past. It stood at 10,977 mcft.

Rainfall (in mm): Mayiladumparai 115, Uthamapalayam 110, Sothuparai dam 60, Veerapandi 50, Shanmuganadhi 40, Bodi 25, Gudalur 20.5, Periyar dam and Vaigai dam 9 each, Tekkadi 16, Idayapatti 5, Melur, Thaniyamangalam 2 each, Madurai and Kallandiri 1 each.