COIMBATORE: Be it officials from the meteorological department or the Coimbatore weatherman, one thing agreed upon by both parties is that the district is witnessing heavy downpour, something that is expected to continue.
However, while the officials claim that Mettupalayam received 8.5 cm rains in the last 24 hours, until 7 am on Monday, the weatherman disagrees and claims that the number is double than that, at 18 cm.
The latter also predicted that The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal will also receive rain on Monday night and Tuesday.
How heavy was the downpour?
In November, Coimbatore witnessed 150 mm rainfall and Mettupalayam received a total of 165 mm. The average annual rainfall for Coimbatore is 679 mm, while for Mettupalayam, it is 990 mm. Last year, however, the latter received 1,200 mm rains.
Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) Agricultural College and Research Institute, Agro Climate Research Centre HOD, S P Ramanathan said that there is no specific reason for heavy rains in Mettupalayam and added that the rain is only due to convectional rainfall.
"So far Coimbatore city has received 835 mm rainfall. In the last 50 years, this is the 26th time that rainfall has exceeded the average amount. The lowest ever rainfall was recorded in 1974 when it received 285.4 mm and the highest was in 1979 at 1,299.8 mm," he pointed out.
Due to heavy rains, home guard volunteers with the help of CPM party cadre requested the public living along a canal near Pallammedu in Dasampalayam to take refuge somewhere else since they have been living in damaged houses.
"Few houses in the area are in a pathetic condition. So much so that they might collapse any time. But the residents are refusing to leave. Mettupalayam MLA Chinnaraj has also visited the place and assured the people to provide accommodation at a nearby school to avert any untoward incident. We have requested Collector K Rajamani to issue an evacuation order," said Home guards Company Commandant M Jayakumar.
Collapsing houses & rescue mission
However, no such measure could stop seventeen people from getting killed when their houses collapsed as a result of incessant rains in Mettupalayam Taluk.
Sources from the disaster management said that they are spreading awareness among people, asking them to contact 1077 toll-free number for any rain-related damages.
"Soon after getting a rescue call, we usually send a village administrative officer to the spot and based on his recommendation, we will send a team and machinery to carry out rescue operations. However on Monday, we did not receive any calls from the public, apart from an incident involving the collapse of houses in which 17 people killed," sources added.
Roads in Mettupalayam town were flooded, leaving motorists and pedestrians to deal with knee-deep water.
Parts of Mettupalayam-Annur road were also flooded. Further, the low-lying bridge at R G Pudur collapsed, leaving villagers with no choice other than to take a detour.
Many houses were inundated near Karuppan Kuttai as Kallar river and Bhavani river overflowed.
Palakkil Sukumaran, a resident, said, "Considering the seriousness of the situation, Mettupalayam Tahsildhar and municipality officials should have alerted the collector and requested him to declare a holiday for the Taluk alone."