Chennai today turned a virtual island and coastal areas of Tamil Nadu were marooned after unprecedented rains in 100 years pounded the city, its suburbs and neighbouring districts destroying road and rail links, shutting the airport and rendering thousands homeless.
Late tonight, the Airport Authority of India anounced that Chennai airport will remain shut till December 6 in the wake of the battering downpour and predictions of more rains in the next 72 hours.
Chennai, which received 49 cm of rain and Chembarambakkam, where the reservoir surplussed about 25,000 cusecs of water into Adyar river, received 47 cm of rains in the last 24 hours that flooded the city and the suburbs, uprooting people from their homes.
Flood waters reached upto the second floor of the Housing Board colonies on the banks of Adyar river as people reached roof-tops looking for rescue and relief in several parts of the city and suburbs.
The death toll in the rains that have lashed the city and other parts of state has gone up to 197, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who spoke to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa last night and promised all assistance, held discussions with his cabinet colleagues Rajnath Singh (Home), Arun Jaitley (Finance) and M Venkaiah Naidu (Parliamentary Affairs) in the morning to take stock of the situation.
The National Crisis Management Committee headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha reviewed the situation and assured the state of all support from the centre.
All modes of transport–air, road and rail services– remained suspended due to the unprecedented deluge, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airport and various rail terminals. Suburban rail services also remained suspended.
Adding to the worry of the citizens and administration, the weatherman has forecast rainfall over the next three days with the next 48 being very critical under the influence of a trough of low pressure and upper air circulation over the southwest Bay of Bengal and Sri Lankan coast.
Thereafter, the state will see an anti-cyclone activity which will be associated with “heavy rains” at some places.
“The phenomenon will continue for the next seven days, but the next 48 hours are very crucial. Neighbouring states will also see rainfall activity,” L S Rathore, Director General of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) told reporters in Delhi.