CHENNAI: Sudden showers on Saturday and Sunday, brought traffic to an absolute standstill across the city’s arterial roads.
Roads were flooded reducing them to half the width, trees were uprooted and walls collapsed. In a matter of minutes, Chennai resembled a place battered by hurricane.
“Till about 4 pm on Saturday, the skies were clear. Then it became dark suddenly and was raining heavily,” said Rajashree Bhuyia, a bank employee.
“It was very difficult to drive after that because of the slow traffic,” she added.
Like Bhuyia, several unfortunate motorists bore the brunt of the sudden showers, causing them to seek shelter at bus stops, under trees, in Corporation schools and near roadside stalls. Flooded roadways added to the trouble.
Areas like Nungambakkam, T Nagar and Guindy came under knee-deep water barely half an hour after the skies opened up.
While Greams Road was covered under sheets of water, Gandhi Mandapam Road near the Adyar Cancer Institute faced the worst of the rains with over half of the stretch submerged under water. Motorcyclists resorted to riding on footpaths to manoeuvre through the standstill traffic, running into pedestrians who were trying to seek shelter from the rains.
“At Vadapalani, rainwater had mixed with sewage water. The stench was unbearable,” said T Gopinath, a motorist. “It took me more than an hour to reach Kathipara from Vadapalani,” he added.
A compound wall near a private food chain close to the Gemini flyover, collpased. “It came crashing down on a few parked motorcycles adjacent to it, burying them under the debris,” said eyewitnesses.
Authorities reported that a total of eight trees were uprooted in the heavy downpour. “Trees fell down on R K Mutt Road, but did not cause damage to any person or property,” said an official of the Regional Deputy Commissioner’s Office.
“Though roads were flooded in the immediate aftermath of the rains, water drained out within the next few hours,” said the official.
However, the rain has not led to any substantial increase in the water levels at three of the four reservoirs.
While Chembarambakkam received an inflow of 150 cusecs, Red Hills received only 10 cusecs, while Poondi and Cholavaram recorded nil.
However, the overall storage position — though only a quarter of the capacity — is almost double as that of last year.