CHENNAI: Life today came to a grinding halt in Chennai and its suburbs following the unprecedented deluge, with scores of stranded citizens making their way through waist-deep water with all modes of transport and communication falling prey to the rain fury.
While the Army and Air Force were involved in rescue work and distribution of food packets at suburban Tambaram and Oorapakkam, ships of the Navy and Coast Guard were on standby, officials said.
Expert Naval divers and inflatable boats were deployed at Adyar and Kotturpuram areas to help marooned citizens.
Alok Bhatnagar, Naval officer in charge, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, said ships--INS Airawat and other amphibian vessels would arrive here tonight. The Navy was also ready with medical supplies, he said.
Seven boats had already been deployed for rescue work, while shelters were ready to accommodate 200 people.
Though a let-up early morning gave hope for residents and rescue agencies, rain water showed little signs of receding even as the Adyar river continued to swell following discharge of excess water from Chembarambakkam reservoir as well as yesterday's torrential downpour.
Discharge from the reservoir touched 35,000 cusecs.
In a worrying development, water was gushing over the Thiru Vi Ka Bridge at the busy Saidapet junction, prompting officials to close the key facility as water nearly touched the nearby railway track between Guindy and Saidapet stations.
Left with no option to proceed to their destinations, many people were seen walking on the railway track even as water was rushing below with brute force.
All kinds of public transport took a hit, with buses stopping mid-way and Railways cancelling both suburban and other inter and intra-state services through the day even as the airport continued to remain closed.
Phone network---both mobile and fixed lines--were out of service even as ATMs did not function. Even in the few ATMs that were open, serpentine queues were witnessed and people stocked up on supplies in the wake of more rains being forecast for the coming days.