Ooty: Avalanche, 24 kms from here, registered 820 mm of rainfall on Thursday morning, as the Southwest monsoon rains continued to pound central and western Nilgiris. While educational institutions in Gudalur, Pandalur and Kundah taluks were closed for the fourth consecutive day on Thursday, in Ooty taluk they were closed for the third consecutive day.
Avalanche is a picturesque wooded zone which serves as an eco-tourism spot besides is the home to the Avalanchee reservoir and the TNEB hydro-electric power generation unit. While it is known to receive heavy rainfall during the SW monsoon, this year on Wednesday morning alone, it registered a new record for highest rainfall in 24 hours in the Nilgiris during the SW monsoon period. On Thursday morning it registered 820 mm of rain and equaled the record for highest rainfall in 24 hours set on 10-11-2009 by Ketti near Ooty. Avalanchee has now moved to the top position in Tamil Nadu for recording the highest rainfall in a single day.
Though rainfall had been normal in Ooty town limits since Sunday, downpour was on the heavier side on the Muthorai-Upper Bhavani stretch that included Avalanche and along the Lovedale-Kundah stretch on the west of Ooty. Likewise, rain was heavy along the Sandinallah-Gudalur-Pandalur stretch on the western border of the Nilgiris.
The heavy rains triggered landslides on the western side of the hydro-power station. The debris and the wash off from the landslide almost blocked the outlet of the hydro-power station with accumulation of slush. Though the near dozen staff on night duty are safe, Avalanche was virtually cut off due to landslides along the Emerald-Avalanche road.
According to a piece of information in the TN gazetteer on the Nilgiris, Avalanche derived its name from a tremendous landslip that took place around 1824. “There was a constant fall of rains for eight days. With heavy rolling thunder, winds were so tempestuous and the country was in darkness. When, at a length, the weather cleared up, they discovered the tremendous havoc that had been brought by the rain,” said the gazetteer.
M. Kumaravelu, field officer at the CPR Environmental Education Centre here, said that a possible cloud-burst on Wednesday night would have been the reason for Avalanchee recording 820 mm. It needs to be studied in detail, he added.
While the rains claimed the life of Sennan (64) residing in the Emerald village limits near here, two persons are said to have sustained injuries. The rainfall scenario in Gudalur and Pandalur too is alarming with flooding in a tribal hamlet and minor landslips. More rains have been predicted for the next two days....