Air, rail traffic hit as rain pounds TN

Battering continues: 40 flights cancelled; schools, colleges shut

Air, rail traffic hit as rain pounds TN

Tamil Nadu once again came under extremely heavy rain since late Tuesday when it had barely the time to limp out of last week’s low pressure area.

The almost relentless downpour since monday night has left several places marooned. In Chennai, submerged railway tracks prompted authorities to suspend suburban rail network and the Mass-Rapid Transit System. Except for a few busses, public transport on the road was suspended.

Trains from the southern districts ran several hours late as they crawled through the thick curtain of rain through several districts and cities.

Heavy rain forced authorities to reschedule or cancel nearly 40 flights from Chennai’s domestic and international terminals since Tuesday night.

“My flight to Singapore was rescheduled for more than ten times,” said Matthew Thomas, a passenger at the airport.

Schoolchildren and college students may have been spared from the ordeal of wading through knee-deep water in many places as government declared holiday for both state-run and private institutions, but the large contingent of office goers commuting on the suburban rail network were left with the uphill struggle.

“I had to walk through knee-deep water to reach the railway station since there is no bus service,” said Kathikeyan, an office goer.

Many like him were disappointed to find that the suburban trains that take them to the heart of Chennai’s office districts were suspended as rain showed no sign of receding.
Many railway overbridges in Chennai were flooded, while big trucks got stuck in the water-logged areas, making it harder for policemen to toe them.

Barricades were seen floating in the rising tide of water on the roads, which stopped busses mid-way.

Chennai and its suburbs, like many other places in the state, were plunged into darkness without regular power supply.

IT companies in Chennai declared holiday for their employees, while some private companies have given the option of working from home.

Meanwhile, the two low pressure areas that triggered the latest spell of heavy rain over Tamil Nadu remain stagnant, allowing the non-stop monsoon rain to continue for the next 48 hours.

“(Monday’s) trough of low pressure now lies over Southwest Bay off Sri Lanka-north Tamil Nadu coast. Another new trough of low pressure formed on Sunday lies over Southeast Bay and adjoining south Andaman sea,” senior Regional Meteorological Department official told Deccan Herald on Tuesday.

“Under its influence, isolated heavy rain may occur over north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 48 hours,” he added.

“Besides heavy rain, winds gusting up to 55 KMPH speed would blow across north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts,” the official added.

The official pointed out that the rain would subside if the low pressures turn into cyclones. "However, the continuation of heavy rain is because the low pressure area lies at one place", he added.

Several of the rescue teams, including those from the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, The National Disaster Response Force  and the Coast Guard that rescued more than a lakh stranded people two weeks ago, are expected to return to duty in Chennai and other rain-hit districts.

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