Chennai: Incessant and heavy rains lashed several areas of Chennai and its suburbs since last evening as the severe cyclonic storm Nivar approached closer to the coast on Wednesday morning.
The rains, which started yesterday morning, poured intermittently and was very heavy at times. It rained almost all through the night and the spells continued this morning also, leaving several areas inundated.
The Tamilnadu government, which announced public holiday today, has extended it tomorrow too in 13 districts. Water logging was reported in several parts of the city and suburbs. Rain waters also inundated several apartments in the city and even entered several houses.
Civic authorities were engaged in pumping out stagnated waters in the city and uprooted tree branches were being cleared by cutting them with machines.
Several subways in the city were also inundated and arterial roads were water-logged causing hardship to two-wheeler riders.
The government has declared a public holiday today to ensure that people remained indoors when the Cyclonic storm crosses the coast later tonight after intensifying
into a very severe cyclonic storm.
Roads were a deserted look and Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) operated limited services in the city. Several south-bound express trains were cancelled along with the suburban EMU train services were suspended from 10 am this morning till further notice.
The State government also cancelled bus services to and within seven districts, which were expected to face the cyclone fury.
Places in and around Chennai received heavy to very heavy rains with the Nungambakkam observatory in the city and the suburban Meenambakkam recording 17 cms and 16 cms of rain respectively during the last 24 hours ending at 0830 hours
Met office said Taramani recorded 12 cm of rain, followed by West Tambaram (10 cm) and Ennore (9 cm). The rains were expected to very heavy when the day progressed
and the cyclone moves further closer to the Chennai coast.
Other places such as Chidambaram, Cuddalore, Karaikal and Nagapattinam received moderate light rains till 0830 hrs.
Meanwhile, thousands of policemen, including commandos trained in disaster operations, have been deployed along the coastal Chennai, Kancheepuram, Chengalpet, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts.
The Greater Chennai Corporation is directly monitoring water logging using flood sensors at 60 locations across the city. The mobile unit will have surveillance cameras and facilities for disaster response during a flood.
Several Relief centres were opened by thed civic authorities and it had started receiving people from low-lying areas. Authorities have made all arrangements for providing food, drinking water and sanitary facilities at these centres.