Normal life was crippled in Chennai and its suburbs on Friday as rains pounded the city for several hours from Thursday evening, resulting in 30cm of showers in some eight hours and flooding several localities.
But Chennai residents heaved a sigh of relief on Friday morning as the rain clouds gave way to a bright sun. But the weather department predicted more rains in the next 24 hours, triggering fears of a repeat of the devastating December 2015 Chennai floods.
The number of rain-related deaths has risen to 14 in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
The torrential rains on Thursday flooded localities like Mudichur, Velachery, Alandur, Pallikaranai, Korattur and several parts of North Chennai.
Residents in these localities and also elsewhere complained that the rain water flowing over the streets was mixed with sewage -- and seeping into their homes.
The government ordered schools and colleges shut in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Pudukottai and Nagapattiman districts on Friday. Private sector organisations have been urged to declare a holiday or allow people to work from home.
Residents in localities like West Mambalam, Santhome, Mylapore, Vysarpadi and more complained of clogged sewers.
"The main sewer lines have remained clogged for past several months. Despite several complaints to clear them before the rains start, the authorities did not act," R. Raghavan, a resident of Mylapore, told IANS.
However, the water levels receded on Friday morning in parts of Chennai.
Residents of suburban residential localities like Mudichur and Tambaram, however, said water had entered their homes.
Many in Mudichur protested on the flooded streets against poor preparedness of the government to meet the monsoon threat.
Mudichur was one of the worst hit during the 2015 floods too.
S. Balachandran, Director of the Cyclone Warning Centre, Regional Meteorological Centre, said on Friday that heavy to very heavy rains were expected in the next couple of days.
He said a low pressure area lay over southwest Bay of Bengal off Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. As a result, heavy rains were expected over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
According to the weather department, Chennai recorded a rainfall of 351.6 mm and neighbouring Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts got 327 and 340 mm rains respectively on Thursday.
Apart from Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tirunelveli and Thanjavur districts were also lashed by rains.
According to officials, the dry reservoirs that cater to Chennai`s drinking water needs were now filling up due to the rains.