- Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi Palaniswamy visits rain-hit areas; asserts government acted on war-footing
- Heavy rains lash Nagapattinam, hundreds of houses inundated
- Rain fury hits Chennai as several areas left waterlogged; state government asks private firms to declare holiday
- Chennai corporation asked to file status report on steps taken to prevent waterlogging
- Chennai rains: Jet Airways waives off penalty charges for passengers
CHENNAI: Torrential downpour threw normal life out of gear in several parts of the metropolis and neighbouring districts today even as the death toll in rain-related incidents mounted to eight in the state.
Rains lashed the city overnight. Though there was some respite during the day, but it started raining heavily towards the evening.
Sharp showers battered parts of Chennai such as Mylapore, Foreshore Estate, southern suburbs of Tambaram, Chrompet and Pallavaram.
A government release said 105 relief camps have been set up in Chennai.
Facing criticism over the handling of rains in Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister K Palaniswami visited several water- logged parts of the city and its suburbs, insisting that his government was working on a "war-footing".
He was accompanied by his deputy O Panneerslevam and senior officials.
Schools and colleges, closed since October 31, remained shut in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts, as the Tamil Nadu government appealed to private firms to allow their employees to work from home.
The Marina Beach area recorded a whopping 30 cm of precipitation.
A middle-aged farmer was electrocuted at Manal Agaram near Tiruvarur when he stepped on a snapped live wire lying under water in his field, police said, raising the death toll in rain-related incidents to eight since October 27, when the northeast monsoon arrived.
Fear of 2015 deluge?
As the heavy spell led to fears of a repeat of the December 2015 deluge, the AIADMK government sought to dispel such rumours.
It asked people not to pay heed to rumours on social media that many lakes and reservoirs around the city were about to surplus and that water would be released.
"Do not spread and believe in rumours #work from home and 3rd Nov leave is 2 avoid traffic jams nd to avoid any untoward incident(sic)," the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Agency tweeted.
Most parts of the city and suburbs received heavy rains last night, with the DGP office near the Marina Beach gauging a maximum of 30 cm of precipitation in 24 hours ending 8.30 am today.
The famous Marina beach front and service lanes were under water.
The coastal district of Nagapattinam continued to suffer monsoon fury, with incessant rains submerging houses and affecting standing crops over thousands of hectares.
The regional weather office has forecast heavy to very heavy rains in the coastal districts and thunderstorms in Chennai and its suburbs for the next 24 hours.
"For the next 24 hours, there will be heavy rains in some places and very heavy rains in one or two places in coastal districts," S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, told reporters.
Anna University and University of Madras announced cancellation of their semester exams.
Palaniswami, who visited flood relief camps in the city and suburban Perungalathur, distributed food packets, dhoti and sarees, mats and bedsheets to persons accommodated there, a release said.
He also visited a few affected areas here, including R K Nagar.
Chennai received 36 cm of rains in the last three days, the AIADMK leader said, adding the government acted "quickly" to ensure there was no water stagnation in the city.
Principal Revenue Secretary K Satyagopal said a 43 personnel-strong team of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) was camping in suburban Tambaram to attend to any kind of exigencies.
The incessant downpour also crippled life in suburban Mudichur, one of the worst-affected areas in the 2015 December deluge, with heavy water-logging of roads and inundation of low-lying areas.
The residents of Kancheepuram district feared a repeat of the 2015 deluge.
Some of the residents staged a protest by squatting on the water-logged Mudichur Road, demanding immediate action.
Transportation takes a hit
While heavy waterlogging hindered free vehicular movement, a "signalling snag" partially hit train services between St Thomas Mount and Kodambakkam suburban section since 9.30 pm yesterday. Train services became normal this morning.
Flight operations at the city airport were normal, airport officials said.
The Nungambakkam weather station in the city registered 18 cm rain and Meenambakkam in the southern suburb recorded 14 cm rain till 8.30 am today. Parangipettai in Cuddalore gauged 14 cm rain.
A Nagapattinam report said heavy rains lashed parts of the district for the fifth day today, inundating hundreds of houses and submerging thousands of hectares of paddy crops.
People were evacuated to safety in Tarangambadi and Sirkazhi taluks, which bore the brunt of the monsoon fury.
At Tarangambadi, Dansborg, the 400-year-old fort built by the Danish on the seafront, is surrounded by water.
Accompanied by Nagapattinam District Collector C Sureshkumar, Tamil Nadu Handlooms Minister O S Manian visited many rain-hit areas in the district and inspected the relief work.
The sea remained very rough, with waves rising to several feet. More than 10,000 fishermen did not venture into sea for the fifth day today, official reports noted.
Salt production in the Vedaranyam area came to a standstill as salt pans in 10,000 acres of land remain submerged.
Samba and Thalady paddy raised in over 75,000 hectares of the total 1.28 lakh hectares, remain submerged in the district, the reports added.