With heavy rain forecast, next 48 hours critical for Chennai

New Delhi: Heavy rain will continue to batter Chennai for at least the next 48 hours before relenting and moving on towards southern Tamil Nadu, weather forecasting agencies warned on Wednesday.

The cyclonic circulation causing the current downpour in the South Indian metro city is expected to move south in the coming days.

"Tamil Nadu's weather is under observation for the next 72 hours as the rain in the next 48 hours is going to be comparatively heavy," said a statement issued jointly by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) and Skymet, a private weather forecasting agency.

Skymet, India's only private weather forecasting agency, has said that the cyclonic circulation in the Bay of Bengal, which is the main reason behind the incessant rain, will move towards southern Tamil Nadu allowing Chennai relief.

An IMD official said on Wednesday evening, "As per our current forecast, Chennai will witness heavy rainfall even today (Wednesday) between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. This may hinder the ongoing rescue operations and increase the difficulties of the residents."

Incessant rain in Chennai has thrown life out of gear. Chennai Airport has been shut with all arrivals and departures cancelled for the day. The entire runway is waterlogged and the airport is likely to remain closed till Thursday 6 a.m. More than 4,000 passengers are stranded at the airport.

The worst affected areas include Tambaram, Anna Nagar, Velachery, Koyambedu and Old Mahabalipuram Road.

According to IMD, Chennai rain has broken several records on the first day of December itself and in the past 24 hours, Chennai has recorded 345 mm rainfall.

Elaborating about the sequence of rainfall, Mahesh Palawat, director of Skymet, told IANS: "The occurrence of the rain in Tamil Nadu was in three phases. The first was from November 8-15 when the state witnessed first heavy rainfall causing a flood-like situation, followed by heavy rain between November 20-24 and now from November 29 to December 5. The situation is slowly coming under control."

A meeting in parliament regarding the floods in Chennai took place with top union ministers, including Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in attendance.

The state government has put the total loss due to the floods in the state at Rs.8,481 crore.

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