THENI/VIRUDHUNAGAR/TIRUCHY/CHENNAI/THOOTHUKUDI: With heavy rains battering Tamil Nadu, the State on Friday recorded 4cm of showers, the highest average rainfall received in TN in 24 hours in the last three years. With more rains in store, Indian Meteorological Department issued a red alert for all coastal districts, including Chennai, for the next two days and an orange alert for the adjoining districts.
Thunderstorms with heavy to very heavy rain are expected over Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts. Thunderstorms with scattered heavy rain are expected over Kanniyakumari, Ramanathapuram, Tiruchy, Karur, Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts. Between October 1 and November 26, TN received 58 cm of rain, 70 per cent more than the average rainfall received in this period. Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu received 60 per cent more rainfall than usual.
Northern TN, including Chennai, received just 2-4 cm of rain through Friday. Even this caused havoc in the capital, with waterlogging in several areas disrupting traffic. T Nagar once again faced heavy inundation while in parts of KK Nagar, residents complained that sewage-mixed rain water entered houses. Chief Minister MK Stalin visited Puliyanthope, one of the worst affected localities, to inspect storm water drains.
However, it was Thoothukudi that bore the brunt of the current weather system with Kayalpattinam in the district recording the highest rainfall with 31 cm in the 24 hours ending 8.30 am on Friday. As many as 981 people were evacuated and moved to 12 temporary relief shelters in the district.
The continuous heavy rainfall submerged hundreds of acres of agricultural fields. Virudhunagar and Theni also received heavy rainfall, leaving dams brimming. Tiruchy saw heavy waterlogging following rains over the past few days. Farmers complained that crops planted last month and meant for harvesting in January were ruined by the recent rains.
‘Check dam poorly planned and built’
On Friday, boulders and rocks were set up near the school and along the banks of the river. Officials said the banks are now secure and there is no fear of flooding. The poorly-planned Thalavanur check dam was built across the Thenpennai river, between Yenathirimangalam and Thalavanur villages in Cuddalore and Villupuram districts respectively, to store water during the monsoon for irrigating over 3,000 acres of agricultural land. It was opened in September 2020. Just months later, the sluice on the left broke in January and was not repaired immediately due to the Assembly elections.
However, after the new government was formed, officials said a proposal to reconstruct the dam was pending approval of the State government in August. E arly in November 2021, due to the heavy rains, the shutters of the Saathanur dam in Tiruvannamalai district were opened. The heavy flow of water damaged the right sluice of the check dam on November 14. Soon after, the sluice prevented a free flow of water, causing erosion of the bund. Officials decided to demolish the sluice to facilitate water flow but the efforts went in vain. In a week, water eroded 50m of river bank in Thalavanur village.
A senior engineer at the Public Works Department - Water Resources Organisation from Villupuram said the dam had not been well planned although the such heavy rains are unprecedented. “The sluices should have been constructed further away from the current positions, and the pillars must go deeper for a strong foundation. Failing both, the sluices collapsed,” the engineer said.
Edu institutions closed today
Holidays have been declared for educational institutions, including schools and colleges, on Saturday in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Puducherry, Karaikal Tiruchy, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Perambalur, Ariyalur, Cuddalore, Villupuram Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai, Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Ramanathapuram and Tenkasi as heavy rains are expected to lash the State.
Level: 69.65 (71)feet
Level: 1,20.100 feet,
Storage: 93,630 Mcft,
In Chennai, water from Chembarambakkam, Red Hills and Cholavaram reservoirs is being released in phases as there has not been much inundation