Aided by cyclonic circulation during monsoon, Chennai and nearby regions experienced intense rains in about 24 hours, leading to inundation of most areas on Sunday and opening up of sluice gates of three city reservoirs to let out surplus water. Since the onset of the Northeast monsoon in October, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry regions have experienced about 43 per cent excess rainfall.
Heavy to very heavy rains lashing the city in about 24 hours comes after about six years, while other regions of Tamil Nadu received mild, and or moderate rainfall.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured all possible support from the Centre in rescue and relief work. Taking to Twitter, PM Modi on Sunday said he spoke with the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu over the situation in the state.
"Spoke to Tamil Nadu CM, Thiru @mkstalin and discussed the situation in the wake of heavy rainfall in parts of the state. Assured all possible support from the Centre in rescue and relief work. I pray for everyone's well-being and safety," the prime minister tweeted.
Chief Minister MK Stalin inspected several inundated areas along with top officials including Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu and directed authorities to take swift action to drain flood water.
Stalin, along with cabinet colleagues distributed flood assistance, including rice, milk and blankets to people in affected areas, housed in temporary shelters. He directed officials to expedite rescue and relief work.
The government has declared holidays for schools and colleges in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpet districts on November 8 and 9.
Districts like Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, Tiruvarur, Villupuram, Erode, Karur, Cuddalore, Pudukottai, Perambalur received more than 60 per cent of normal rainfall (during the season), Stalin said.
The Meteorological department said a cyclonic circulation lay over north coastal Tamil Nadu, southeast of Bay of Bengal and a low pressure area is likely to form by November 9 and the agency has forecast widespread rainfall for at least the next three days in the state.
From Saturday morning, Chennai and several suburbs in Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts witnessed intermittent rains and showers became non-stop since last night. Rains ceased in most areas and in nearby districts by late Sunday night.
In view of heavy rains, vehicular traffic, bus and train services were also affected.
Though there was some delay in respect of a couple of flights, there was no major disruption in services, airport sources here said adding even passengers who arrived late due to showers were allowed to board.
Speaking on monsoon rains in the state, Revenue and Disaster Management Minister KKSSR Ramachandran said, "in 26 districts of TN, there has been widespread rainfall (during the season). Due to this, four persons were dead in rain related incidents and one was injured."
About 260 houses were damaged, he said adding 160 relief centres were opened in Chennai and over 50,451 food packets were distributed to people here by the government on Sunday.
Units of the state and national disaster response forces have been deployed wherever necessary including Chennai, he said.
Deputy Director-General of Meteorology, S Balachandran said the all-time record of highest rain here was 45 CM in 1976.
The northeast monsoon (October-December) is the main rainy season for Tamil Nadu as nearly half of its annual rainfall is realised during this season.
(With inputs from PTI)