Several southern districts of Tamil Nadu received heavy rains on October 16 as a result of the low-pressure region along the coast of Kerala. Many locations reported 200 mm-300 mm rainfall in 24 hours ending 6 am on October 17.
More than 20 villages in Kanyakumari district were inundated while around 20,000 acres of farmland were affected. Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Nilgiris and districts along the Western Ghats reported heavy rainfall. Two persons were reported dead and one was missing in Kanyakumari.
Public transport was suspended for more than 24 hours in different parts of Kanyakumari as the discharge from two major dams flooded low-lying areas and displaced hundreds of people.
The catchment areas along the Western Ghats received heavy-to-extreme heavy rains for 24 hours till October 16. Major dams, including Pechiparai and Perunchani, in Kanyakumari and Papanasam and Manimuthar, in Tirunelveli district, reached beyond 90% of their capacity.
Hundreds of people were shifted to relief camps in Zero Point near Pechiparai, Kothayar, Munchirai as the discharge from Pechiparai and Perunchani dams flooded around 20 villages in Kanyakumari. The fire and rescue departments were pressed into service to rescue the families from the inundated areas.
TN fire and rescue personnel were pressed to service in Munchirai
Around 20,000 acres of farmlands were flooded after rainfall of 266 mm and 216 mm were recorded in Lower Kodayar and Pechiparai respectively.
Banana crops flooded by severe rains near Marthandam in Kanyakumari district.
Other southern districts, including Dindigul and Madurai, also received heavy rainfall. Papanasam and Mancholai, in Tirunelveli district, also received more than 200 mm of rain while the Puliyarai pond, in Tenkasi district, was breached.
Several houses in low lying areas of Kanyakumari were flooded due to the rains.
TWO LOW DEPRESSIONS CLOSE TO COASTS CAUSED RAINFALL
Heavy downpour was expected along the Western Ghats, in south Tamil Nadu and Kerala, as a low depression sustained closer to the coast near Kochi, in Kerala. “Extreme rains are expected as the complete moisture is pushed to the southern parts of Kerala while another marking near Vishakapatnam was also pushing the moisture to the south,” said Pradeep John, also known as Tamil Nadu Weatherman.
“The upper-air circulation on the east and west coasts have resulted in such heavy rains along the Western Ghats, from Kanyakumari to Idukki belt,” John told Newsclick.
Courtesy: Pradeep John (@praddy06)
“Even though it is rare, we receive extreme heavy rains when low-pressure areas form along the coast of Kerala and in the Bay of Bengal. In previous such instances, more than 200 mm of rain was received. In Papanasam, 250 mm was recorded in five to six hours,” John said.
Discounting any link between such one-off instances and climate change, John said, “These are extreme rains as predicted on October 13 using several models. It is evident that the rains are not isolated as southern parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu received heavy rains.”
The rainfall has reduced since the afternoon of October 17, bringing huge relief to the flood-prone areas in the southern districts. Now, the state is gearing up to face the northeast monsoon after October 20 as predicted by the IMD. The storage levels of dams across the state, including the tanks which supply drinking water to Chennai, are satisfactory and higher than the levels compared to the previous year.