CHENNAI: Surprise showers pelted down Chennai non-stop for over seven-hours on Thursday, leaving the city paralysed and many roads and residential areas under knee-deep water. What started as moderate shower in the early afternoon, became heavy rain by the evening, taking residents, road-users and authorities alike by surprise.
Vehicles moving at snail’s pace were stranded on almost all main roads, including Anna Salai and Poonamallee high road, for hours, and the worst-hit were the office-goers returning home and other road-users. It was one unprecedented pile-up of vehicles from Royapettah up to the airport, said a commuter.
At the end of the day, rainfall ranging from 8cm (airport) up to 18cm (MRC Nagar and Nungambakkam) had been recorded in a matter of seven hours.
City corporation commissioner Gagandeep Singh Bedi said the rains came in as a surprise as they were not informed about the weather update.
“The city did not see this much deluge even on November 7”, he said. Bedi along with other officials took stock of the scenario from the control room at Ripon Buildings.
Core city areas such as Nungambakkam, T Nagar Teynampet, Kodambakkam and Egmore were all flooded and vehicle-users were seen pushing their vehicles that had conked out. Water mixed with sewage entered houses in Valsaravakkam and Velachery.
In North Chennai localities like Tondiarpet, Tiruvottiyur and Old Washermenpet, the Tangedco had shut down power as a precautionary measure because the localities were flooded.
At least five of the city’s important subways, including the RBI subway on Kamarajar Salai, were closed for traffic due to water-logging. Due to blockages and diversions, a ride that what would take 20 minutes on normal days, took 90 minutes and more. Due to the spillover effect, even bylanes and interior streets saw huge traffic jams.
More than 70% of MTC buses were stuck on road, and highways too suffered bumper-to-bumper traffic.
A lot of road-users left their vehicles on the roadside, and thronged the metro stations to get a safe and quick commute home. In response to the demand, CMRL extended its services till midnight to handle extra crowd.