Cyclone Michaung: flights Cancelled, Schools Shut as Rain Lashes Chennai

The coastal regions of Tamil Nadu, particularly Chennai, are struggling with Cyclone Michaung, a weather system looming over the Bay of Bengal. The cyclone, with its presence, has already led to heavy rainfall and severe disruptions in the affected areas.

Cyclone Michaung: flights Cancelled, Schools Shut as Rain Lashes Chennai

Reports on December 4, 2023, Cyclone Michaung is advancing towards the Andhra coast, expected to make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam on the following day.

The cyclone has triggered intense rainfall in various districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Nagapattinam, and Cuddalore.

Overnight, Chennai and its neighboring districts experienced heavy rainfall, resulting in waterlogging. Meenambakkam recorded a 196 mm, while Nungambakkam received 154.3 mm in the 24 hours leading up to 5:30 am on December 4, 2023.

The rain has led to the submergence of many areas, prompting the closure of schools, colleges, and government offices in Chennai and three adjacent districts.

Chief Minister MK Stalin has urged private companies to allow employees to work from home. Additionally, the government has set up nearly 5,000 relief centers in coastal districts to assist those affected by the heavy rainfall.

Chief Minister Stalin said the importance of adhering to safety protocols and urged the public not to venture out unnecessarily until the impact of the storm subsides.

The weather conditions have led to several disruptions in transportation. Bridge No.14 between Basin Bridge and Vyasarpadi has been temporarily closed, resulting in the cancellation of six trains departing from Dr MGR Chennai Central railway station.

The Southern Railway has assured full refunds for affected passengers. Moreover, 14 subways in the city have been closed due to waterlogging.

The city’s airport has not been spared, with 12 domestic outbound flights and four international flights canceled. Three incoming international flights were diverted to Bengaluru due to the weather conditions.

Authorities have mobilized resources for relief and rescue efforts. Eight NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) and nine SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) teams are stationed in districts, including Villupuram, Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore, and Chengalpattu.

The water discharge from the Chembarambakkam reservoir outside Chennai has been reduced to 1500 cusecs. This measure aims to control the water levels and prevent further inundation in regions.

According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Cyclone Michaung is expected to intensify further and cross the South Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam as a cyclonic storm with maximum sustained winds of 90-100 kmph, gusting up to 110 kmph.

The Madras High Court has declared a holiday for all courts in Chennai on Monday due to rain. The Tamil Nadu government has announced a public holiday in four districts, including Chennai, Chengalpet, Thiruvallur, and Kanchipuram.

Essential services such as police, fire service, medical facilities, and disaster response activities will, however, continue to operate.

The closure of the bridge and waterlogged subways has led to disruptions in public transportation. Chennai Metro Rail Service has rescheduled its train services in light of the public holiday declared by the Tamil Nadu government.

The railways have temporarily suspended train services, affecting a total of 118 trains, with the East Coast Railway canceling 60 trains.

The Southern Railway has set up a round-the-clock helpline to provide information and assistance to affected passengers. Educational institutions in Andhra Pradesh’s NTR district will remain closed for two days.

The IMD has issued warnings for heavy rainfall and thunderstorms in several places across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

The affected districts include Thiruvallur, Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Ranippettai, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichy, Vellore, Thirupattur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, and Salem.

The public has been cautioned about waterlogging, slippery roads, traffic conditions, and minor damage to structures.

The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been actively involved in rescue operations. Teams have rescued around 15 people in the Tambaram area near Peerkankaranai and Perungalathur due to severe waterlogging.

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