Chennai: More inflated rubber boats were out on many Chennai roads on Saturday as the city, like many other places in the State, received no respite from the incessant downpour that continued to inundate roads, subways and also human habitations despite the best efforts of the officials to prevent flooding, thus pushing the people to the edge.
Fears of the situation getting worse gripped many people as the meteorological department forecast heavy and continuous rains across the State till Wednesday and heavy showers with thunderstorms for Chennai till Monday.
Director of Meteorology N Puviarasan said many districts were getting heavy rains under the influence of a cyclonic surface circulation in the Bay of Bengal and that more heavy rains could be expected in the days to come. The rain havoc would be spread across the State from Chennai to Kanaykumari, though the coastal districts may be more affected.
Though the rain forecast is that one section of the State would be hit one day, the flood situation is such that any rain anywhere could cause inundation everywhere as all reservoirs, lakes, tanks, ponds and every water body is already full and cannot take any more inflow.
On Saturday morning people woke up to water entering their homes in many localities in Chennai and even the others could not step out as the streets and roads went under knee-deep water with overnight rains lashing the city and its suburbs non-stop even after daybreak.
Many subways went under water despite giant pumps continuously working at various spots and in Vyasarpadi, a passenger bus got stuck inside the inundated Ganesapuram subway, forcing the authorities to engage another vehicle to tow it out to safety.
The bus had entered the subway as the water level was maintained at a reasonable height by the motor that was continuously pumping out when a sudden gush caused a flood inside, trapping the vehicle with passengers on board.
Though the commuters disembarked, waded through the water and ran to safety, the vehicle remained stranded, leading to a traffic snarl in the locality, till it was towed out. Many episodes of two-wheelers, auto rickshaws and cars with low ground clearance stopping in the flooded roads were reported, providing additional work to mechanics.
It was the overflowing lakes around Chennai, say in places like Ambattur, Medavakkam, Korattur, Adyar, Pallikaranai and Velacherry that caused more flooding in the residential areas around them.
Many stranded people were rescued and transported to places of safety by the flat bottomed rubber boats operated by the fire and rescue services and also the personnel of the National Disaster Response Force.
Though such boats had been operated ever since the rains started flooding many areas and roads, more of them were required on Friday as more and more went under water with more lakes and tanks started overflowing.
In what is known as the Palar region, covering Chennai, Kanchipuram, Chengalpattu and Tiruvannamalai districts through which River Palar traverses, water from 962 of the total 1022 lakes have started spilling out.
The lack of adequate men and machinery to clear the water stagnation in many places, as too many calls were received at the same time, caused resentment among people who sat in protest in many areas like Ramavaram and other low-lying areas.
Many families were found huddling in safety of their terrace or first floor space with water gushing into their dwelling space in the night, triggering fears of earlier flood havocs when people went without food for days and depending on the packets dropped from air.
Traffic diversions caused widespread chaos on the otherwise flooded roads and motorists found it difficult to negotiate through the heavily damaged roads that were left with potholes and puddles. The random parking of four-wheelers on top of most of the bridges by people, too, restricted the free movement of vehicles.
The heavy rains led to the closing of schools in 23 districts though the downpour was widespread across most districts. All over the State 123 relief camps had been opened to accommodate 11,329 people even as three more lives were lost and 344 heads of cattle perished....