Cyclone Michaung: Rain wreaks havoc in Chennai, airport operations suspended till 11pm

Chennai streets inundated after heavy downpour. Photo: AFP

Chennai: Cyclonic storm Michaung has brought heavy showers on the city of Chennai and nearby districts on Monday. The cyclonic storm is likely to cross the coast in Andhra Pradesh on December 5.

Relentless rains pounded various parts of the city leading to inundation, raising fears of a repeat of 2015 deluge. People were seen scampering to buy and refill supplies and essential items with drinking water being on high demand. There was no let up in the downpour that led to power outages and internet disruption.

Schools shut on Tuesday
Due to the Cyclonic storm 'Michaung', all schools, colleges, educational institutions, government offices including the Offices of Public Undertakings/ Corporations, Boards, Banks, and Financial Institutions in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu Districts will be closed on 05.12.2023 (Tuesday), the Tamil Nadu government said in a release.

The government had declared Monday (December 4) a public holiday and urged private companies to encourage 'work from home' option for its employees in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts.  However, essential services such as milk supply and healthcare facilities would be operational.

In Chennai, cabinet ministers Udhayanidhi Stalin and Ma Subramanian visited the affected areas and oversaw the relief activities.

Chennai inundated due to heavy rain. Photo: Manorama

Chennai airport closed
The Chennai airport operations were suspended from 9.40 am to 11 pm. As many as 70 flights arriving to and departing from the airport were cancelled owing to non-stop rains. The runway and tarmac also remain shut due to waterlogging, the Airport Authority of India said.

At the airport, 12 domestic outbound services, including to destinations like Ahmedabad and Thiruvananthapuram were cancelled. Four international services, including to Dubai and Srilanka were cancelled by a private carrier, officials said. Three arriving international services were diverted to Bengaluru.

Rail services affected
Rail services have also been cancelled and delayed as a result. The railways have cancelled a total of 118 trains. "In view of water flowing above danger level, the bridge no.14 between Basin bridge and Vyasarpadi has been suspended on account of safety reasons, and six trains originating from the Dr MGR Chennai Central to destinations including Coimbatore and Mysuru were cancelled on Monday morning,” the Southern Railway said, adding that a full refund shall be granted to all passengers of the above trains.

As many as 14 subways in the city have been closed due to inundation, the city police said.

Chennai flooded after heavy rain on Dec 3. Photo: AFP

Cyclone Michaung
Cyclonic storm Michaung, which is likely to cross the coast in Andhra Pradesh on the forenoon of Tuesday lay near Chennai and Puducherry, bringing heavy rains. 

"Cyclonic storm Michaung centered over the west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal off south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining North Tamil Nadu coasts moved northwestwards at a speed of 8 kmph, intensified into a Severe Cyclonic Storm over the same region on December 4. It is likely to move nearly northwards almost parallel and close to south Andhra Pradesh coast and and cross between Nellore and Machilipatnam (AP) during forenoon of December 5 as a Severe Cyclonic Storm," an update from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

Chennai and nearby Chengalpet, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts among others received widespread rains since late Sunday under the impact of cyclonic storm Michaung. Low-lying areas and many residential parts witnessed inundation, even as civic agency personnel were involved in clearing the stagnant water. At Velachery in the city, a portion of land reportedly gave way, leading to a deep pit and some people were trapped.

Meanwhile, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment Climate Change and Forests, Tamil Nadu government, Supriya Sahu reacted to a viral video of a crocodile crossing a road in suburban Perungulathur area during heavy rains in Chennai.

In a post on X, she said, "Many are tweeting about this video. There are a few mugger crocodiles in several of the water bodies in Chennai. These are shy elusive animals and avoid human contact. This one has come out as the water has overflown due to massive rains under the impact of #CycloneMichuang please do not go close to water bodies."

"There is no possibility of harm to humans IF these animals are left alone & UNPROVOKED. No need to panic. Wildlife division has been alerted and they are on the job to avoid any untoward incident #cyclonemichaung #Cyclone #Michaung #ChennaiRains."

At Velachery in the city, a portion of land reportedly gave way, leading to a deep pit and some people were trapped. Also, a building in the locality caved in trapping some workers. Two people have been rescued and admitted to the hospital, police said without sharing further details.

The Industries Department has set up a help desk for providing information and assistance to small and medium enterprises.

"SIPCOT is continuously monitoring and clearing hurdles within the industrial parks located in affected districts using patrol teams," an official said.

(With PTI inputs.)


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