CHENNAI: Though the sky had an ominous cloud cover through the day, the clouds played truant too. Thus the sudden massive downpour in a flash on Tuesday evening caught people by surprise. In less than an hour, Chennai was thoroughly drenched by close to 5 cm (50mm) of rain.
The intense downpour that began a little past 7:30 pm, lashed the city with sheets of rain, leading to severe inundation in many localities, including Vepery, Pursaiwalkam and Egmore. As the rain was accompanied by fairly strong winds, which notched a maximum speed of 16 kmph, a tree got uprooted near the Police Commissioner’s office, Egmore. One-way traffic had to be enforced on EVK Sampath Salai.
Weather department officials attributed the rain to ‘a thunderstorm activity’, which they say is quite normal in June and July.
Speaking to Express, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre said, “The rainfall is due to a thunderstorm activity which is quite common during this period. Such thunderstorms develop instantly because of favourable local conditions.” He added that Chennai and its suburbs could expect more rain during the next 48 hours, especially late evenings and nights.
Although the skies over Chennai were generally cloudy throughout the day on Tuesday, it was only in the evening when there were indications that the sky could yield. A little past 7:30 pm there were gusts of wind and the tell-tale sign of cool before the sky opened, a bit gentle initially but very quickly becoming a heavy downpour, bringing about 50mm of rain in an hour.
The rains and gales blowing west caught several motorists and pedestrians off guard. Auto driver P Saravanan, said, “While taking a U-turn near Central railway station, the vehicle was momentarily off balance because of the strong winds.”
From between 7:45 pm to 8:15 pm, winds blew at an average speed of more than 10 kmph, notching a maximum of 16 kmph.
In fact, the city and its surrounding areas got heavy rain on Monday night as well, extending into the early hours of Tuesday morning. Among the places which received heavy rain were Chembarabakkam (5 cm), Sriperumbudur (4 cm) and Tambaram (3 cm).