An average of 123 mm (5 inches) of rain fell in Chennai, India, on Tuesday, January 5, 2021, becoming the city's highest rainfall in a single day for the month of January since 1915. The heavy downpour resulted in inundation in many parts of the area.
While the northeast monsoon in January is not unusual in Chennai, the intensity of the rain struck the city and neighboring districts from Monday night, January 4, into Tuesday.
Officials of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) attributed it to an easterly trough over north Tamil Nadu.
Meenambakkam and Nungambakkam registered 50 and 60 mm (2 and 2.4 inches) of rain, respectively, in a 24-hour period on Tuesday morning.
By Tuesday evening, the two stations had registered 80 and 100 mm (3.1 and 4 inches) of rain, respectively. Many other areas, such as Tarmani, received up to 120 mm (4.7 inches). This led to flooding in many parts of the area.
S. Balachandran, the deputy director-general of Meteorology, Chennai, said the slow-moving trough could bring such heavy rain during this month.
The highest daily rainfall record of the city for the month of January was 210 mm (8.3 inches) set on January 15, 1915.
"We have instances when Chennai (Nungambakkam) recorded close to 70 mm (2.8 inches) of rain in one day like in 1955, 1986, and 1995," said Balachandran.
"Tuesday’s rain could surpass those records and could be second highest in the century."
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