India

Rain beats Chennai, streets are flooded, arrival flights suspended until 6 p.m.

Chennai: Heavy rains continue to hit Chennai and parts of Tamil Nadu, affecting air, rail and car traffic, as well as roads, homes and hospitals in humid flooded areas. “Red alerts” are in place for 8 districts, including Chennai and Pondicherry. Alerts have been activated for Tiruvallur, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupattur, Tiruvannamalai, Kallakurichi and Salem, as well as Chennai. Moderate rainfall is expected in Villupuram, Cuddalore, Krishnagiri, Dharmapuri, Namakkal, Perambalur and Ariyalur. A depression on the southwestern Bay of Bengal is heading for the north coast of the state. At 2:40 p.m., it was 80 km southeast of Chennai and 140 km east-northeast of Pondicherry. It is expected to move west-northwest and cross tonight. Chennai Airport suspended all arrivals until 6 p.m.Departures will continue as planned, the airport said, adding that the decision was made “with passenger safety in mind.” Southern Railways said several services from Chennai Central to Tiruvallur had been suspended due to water on the Avadi and Ambattur tracks. also delays on the northern lines to Gummidipoondi. Road traffic in the city was also affected, with 13 floods in the metro. Heavy rains hit several districts of Tamil Nadu overnight and this morning, especially the north of the state; this includes the capital Chennai and the neighbors Chengalpattu, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Villupuram. At least 14 people have died in rain accidents statewide, a senior official told ANI news agency. Schools and colleges were closed in Chennai and other districts for the fourth day in a row, and several areas of the capital remain flooded for the fifth day in a row. The government urged people to stock up on food and fresh water and to stay in their homes. They were told not to leave except in an emergency. ANI showed that floodwaters entered a KK Nagar hospital in Chennai.Other images showed floods outside the metro station near Madras High Court.Chennai received 61 cm of rain over the same period, compared to a historical average of 41 cm. More than half of the state’s 90 major watersheds and 14,138 lakes are already at least 75% full, fearing a repeat of 2015, when sudden overflow from Chennai’s Chembarambakkam Reservoir flooded more than four lakh houses in the city.

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