Today's Paper

Freak weather whipped up a perfect storm

The highest daily rainfall in a century. Freak weather conditions on one day. The hottest-ever Indian Ocean. The strongest-ever El Nino. The hottest year on record.

The bad news is that a perfect storm of meteorological conditions combined to create Chennai’s worst-ever deluge last week, exacerbated in no small part by civic infrastructure pushed to its limit and systemic dysfunction. The worse news is, that could happen again, and soon; 2015’s El Nino is on course to being the strongest ever recorded.

The El Nino is a weather phenomenon resulting in warmer than expected ocean temperatures in the central and eastern parts of the tropical belt of the Pacific Ocean.

Parts of this oceanic zone have already hit record temperatures this year, setting the 2015-16 El Nino well on its way to a record intensity, with potential impacts across the world encompassing the range of events, including searingly high temperatures, droughts and intense rainfall.