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Deadly monsoon rains hit Chennai, 74% of average seasonal rain in 8 days

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Since the northeast monsoon set in on October 27, 2017, the city of Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu state in southern India has recorded 554.2 mm (21.8 inches) of rain, 74% of the long-term average it receives annually in the rain season. Schools and colleges have been shut since October 31 and rain-related incidents have claimed at least 12 lives so far, local media report. Residents fear that recent heavy spell will lead to a repeat of the 2015 deluge in which 421 people lost their lives.

On Saturday morning, November 4, authorities said water levels in Chennai are continuously rising. However, they asked people 'not to pay heed to rumors on social media that many lakes and reservoirs around the city were about to surplus and that the water would be let out.'

As of 08:30 local time on Friday, November 3, the city received 554.2 mm (21.8 inches) of rain in 8 days. This is 74% of the long-term average of 750 mm (29.5 inches) it receives annually in the rain season (October 1 to December 15).

Chennai had till Friday recorded 441.3 mm (17.37 inches) of rainfall (58.84% of the seasonal average) from the northeast monsoon, Met office data showed. Thursday's rain was Chennai's third-highest in history in a single day for November, behind only 452.2 mm (17.8 inches) in 1976 and 246.15 mm (9.69 inches) in 2015. It continued on Friday evening after a brief break, leaving the city precariously placed, the Times of India reports.

Several localities reported flooding, especially of interior roads, and the showers hit traffic for a second straight day. The Chennai district collector declared Saturday, a school holiday. Most districts have recorded more than average rainfall for the season so far, the Met office said.

More than 10 000 people took shelter in 105 relief camps set up in Chennai and other parts of coastal Tamil Nadu, the government said Saturday, adding that schools in the city and other coastal towns will remain closed for the fifth day in a row.

Although most of the water-logging has been cleared in Chennai, low-lying areas and the suburbs of the capital continue to be water-logged, according to NDTV.

The power supply was suspended in inundated areas such as parts of MKB Nagar in north Chennai, pockets of Madipakkam in south Chennai and Karapakkam off Porur in western Chennai to ensure safety.

At least 12 people have lost their lives since October 31 due to flooding, lightning strikes and collapsed walls.

More heavy rain is expected throughout the region in the days and weeks ahead… this is just the beginning.

Featured image: People wade through a waterlogged area in Chennai, India, Friday, November 3, 2017. Incessant rainfall caused waterlogging and traffic jams in several parts of the southern Indian city on Friday. Credit: AP

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