Chennai airport to be shut all day, first such shutdown since 2015 floods

Earlier, five flights departing from Chennai were canceled and 23 flights diverted. Two arrivals were also canceled, according to Chennai airport sources.
A man holding an umbrella walks during the heavy downpour in Chennai. (File Photo | Ashwin Prasath)
A man holding an umbrella walks during the heavy downpour in Chennai. (File Photo | Ashwin Prasath)

CHENNAI: Chennai Airport has closed down its airfield from 9.17am to 11pm, according to official sources. During 2015 in Chennai, the floods had forced the closure of the airport for at least four days.

Many passengers awaiting their flights were stranded for hours as flights could not take off due to gusty wind and rains and also since water from Adyar River had entered the runway.

Earlier, five flights departing from Chennai were canceled and 23 flights diverted. Two arrivals were also canceled, according to Chennai airport sources.

While many passengers left for home, others stayed back. Many aircraft are still waiting at the tarmac to depart once the weather turns normal, airport sources said.

Food and other arrangements have been made for those staying back as part of the contingency plan.

Ground handlers have been advised to ensure mooring of aircraft and  safety of ground support equipments and operating personnel.

In 2015, the Airport Authority of India had joined hands with the Indian Institute Technology to map the geography of the airport and its surrounding areas using a drone to plan a long-term solution to prevent flooding. It was then planned to map the airport and the surrounding water bodies up to 5-10 kilometers radius from the airport.

The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority has informed the Madras High Court the study has been done but this is yet to be made public.

Two guest workers killed as wall collapses in Chennai

Meanwhile, two guest workers who were staying in a thatched roof in Kanathur near an under construction building died after a wall collapsed in Kanathur. 

Police said the deceased were identified as Zakir, 20 and Afrose, 30 from Jharkhand. Police said the duo along with many workers were working in an under construction site in Gandhi Street in Kanathur. The building belongs to one Ayappan, said the police. 

The construction laborers were staying in a thatched roof next to the under construction site. In the wee hours of Monday, due to incessant rains and wind, a portion of the under construction building collapsed and fell over their thatched roof. 

The fire and rescue team reached the spot and rescued two people. The deceased were sent to the Royapettah Government Hospital for post mortem. 

Madras HC declares rain holiday

Madras High Court has declared a rain holiday on December 4 for the principal bench in Chennai in view of torrential rains due to Michaung cyclone.

The Registry made the announcement after due consideration of the prevailing situation and the forecast of heavy spells of showers, taking back an earlier announcement that courts would function without passing adverse orders since counsels for all the parties to the litigation may not be able to attend the proceedings.

A similar holiday was also declared for all subordinate courts in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpet.

Lawyers associations including the Madras High Court Advocates Association had asked the Chief Justice to declare a holiday taking into account the heavy rains.

Chennai has been battered by rains as Cyclone Michaung nears the city.

NS Balachandran, Chennai Regional Metrology Director, said, "Cyclone 'Michaung' lies about 100 km east-northeast of Chennai. In the last 6 hours, it has moved at a speed of 10 km/hr and it's expected to move in the northwest direction. An intensified to severe cyclonic storm is expected by 4 p.m. today." 

"Further, it will move parallel to the coast of north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh, expected to cross Nellore-Machilipatnam by tomorrow at 4 p.m. Heavy rainfall and strong winds are likely to continue till this evening in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram and Thiruvallur districts," he added.

Michaung is expected to make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam. 

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