Cyclone Nivar: Chennai floats as rains batter city

Cyclone Nivar: Chennai floats as rains batter city; residents evacuated using boats

The city received an average rainfall of 16 cm in just 24 hours

Vehicles ply on a waterlogged road during heavy rain triggered by Cyclone Nivar, in Chennai, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020. Credit: PTI Photo

As torrential rains under the influence of powerful Cyclone Nivar pummelled the city for the second consecutive day without any respite, several residential areas and arterial roads in the southern metropolis went under the water, raising questions about the administration's preparedness.

The city received an average rainfall of 16 cm in just 24 hours ending at 8.30 am on Wednesday, making it difficult for authorities to pump out water from roads and sub-ways. Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) said water-logging was reported from 58 places across the city and complaints of uprooting of trees were received from 52 localities.

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Due to the impact of the cyclone, tree branches fell on the road in several areas, while the Traffic Police closed down all major routes at 5 pm on Wednesday to avoid any damage. Traffic on the East Coast Road that connects Chennai with Puducherry and Nagapattinam was also closed for traffic.

People living in some parts of Velachery, a residential area in south Chennai, were evacuated from their houses using rubber boats as water continued to rise in the locality owing to continuous rains. In Maduvankarai, water entered a few apartment buildings, while many roads witnessed knee-deep water.

“The water in my area is knee-deep and we are staying indoors. It is scary as rains have not stopped since Wednesday morning. We are just hoping that there will be no repeat of 2015 floods,” Maheswaran, a resident of Velachery, told DH over the phone.

North Chennai, a densely-populated area in the city, was worst-affected. Police and fire and rescue personnel fanned out across the city to clear trees that were uprooted or the branches that fell due to the wind. Over 1,200 persons, including children, were evacuated from their homes and were lodged at various relief centres in which health camps were also conducted due to Covid-19 scare.

Complaints of water-logging and inundation were received from across the city and its suburbs, especially, those located in the neighbouring Chengalpattu district, due to their vulnerability to flooding. Villages like Mudichur, and Varadharajapuram were marooned due to rains and excess water being released from Chembarambakkam Lake, major water source for the city.

In the heart of Chennai, roads and streets in posh and residential areas like Kalaignar Karunanidhi Nagar (K K Nagar), Ashok Nagar, Egmore, Ekkaduthangal, Jafferkhanpet, Nungambakkam, Kodambakkam were full of water, making it difficult for vehicles to pass through them.