Vanakkam! November ended with absolute carnage yesterday after the North-East Monsoon conjured up one of the stormiest and wettest spells yet this season, leaving some Chennaiites wondering if they hadn’t had too much already. Some parts of the city had to endure flooding and Sunday has already made a showery start.
The sustained heavy to very heavy spells on Saturday also reminded some of the flooding of November-December in 2015, when Chennai and its neighbourhood as well as parts of larger Tamil Nadu found themselves at the receiving end of an unusually charged-up monsoon, believed to have been underwritten by the strong 2014-16 EL Nino. But those are the ways with the annual winter rains, which Chennaiites know only too well.
And this (Sunday) morning, Chennai found itself teasingly sandwiched between active thunderstorms marauding their way to its North and South. So Karaikal and Mayiladuthurai and an entire geographic swathe covering Cuddalore, Puducherry, Thiruvannamalai, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Vellore, Vaniyambadi, Ambur, Arani, Tindivanam, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu was being thrashed by a flotilla of variously powerful thunderstorms to the South.
To its North, Srikalahasti, Gudur, Nellore and Kavali in Coastal Andhra Pradesh got a severe battering at the hands of storm clouds with a tail extending well into the adjoining Bay of Bengal — as if sending them out in swarms on an assembly line.
A similar but much-more pronounced tail worked its way back into the warm sea waters to the South, with the coast from Cuddalore, Puducherry and Chengalpattu offering itself as a sitting duck.
This had left Chennai looking back on its shoulders in either direction to watch for storm clouds rising along its skylines. After all, the national forecast from the India Meteorological Department, New Delhi, has said that active easterly wave conditions would continue to trigger fairly widespread to widespread rainfall with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Kerala, and Lakshadweep during the next two days as well.
Low-pressure area evolving
A second low-pressure area is likely to form over the South-East Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area later during the day today (Sunday) and it is likely to become more marked (first round of intensification) by tomorrow (Monday), revving up the North-East monsoon even further.
A prevailing low-pressure area is already working its way up, but farther away towards the West African coast (Somalia, 1,400 km to the East-North-East of its capital Mogadishu). If anything, the North-East monsoon is showing just how productive low-pressure areas in the Arabian Sea (not necessarily in the familiar waters of the Bay of Bengal) can turn out be for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and the rest of the South Peninsula.
And the South Peninsula needs to be mindful of typhoon Kammuri in the West Pacific travelling in a straight line towards the Philippines with a possible extension into the downstream South China Sea and Bay of Bengal. A storm tracker of the US National Centres for Environmental Prediction-Global Ensemble Forecast System (NCEP-GEF) sees a ripple effect in the Bay eight to 12 days from now (into mid-December) in the form of an easterly wave likely hitting Sri Lanka and adjoining South Tamil Nadu.
And, easterly waves always demand attention and constant monitoring and tracking, just as the currently active one has already shown. The India Meteorological Department, New Delhi, has said that isolated to scattered rainfall would continue to lash Peninsular India and the Islands right until December 8.
This brings us back to the question of what Chennaiites expect in terms of weather through the day this first day of December.
Chennai: 100% chance of rain
The Chennai Met Office of the IMD sees generally cloudy conditions with a probability of moderate to heavy rain. Maximum and minimum temperatures may range between 30 and 24 degrees Celsius respectively. Scattered heavy with isolated very heavy rain is likely to continue over the coastal and adjoining districts of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal, and the forecast is valid also to the western districts of Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Tiruppur and Erode in Tamil Nadu.
Chennai International Airport (MAA/VOMM) saw rainy conditions at 8.30 am with thunderstorms active to its South-West and South-East. Winds were south-westerly, with temperature logging in at 25 degrees Celsius. There was an average delay of five minutes in arrivals and disproportionately high delay of 16 minutes in departures. International forecasters see a 100 per cent chance for rain in Chennai city through the day and into the night with a warning for localised flooding.
The maximum temperature should be around 28 degrees Celsius and the minimum, 25 degrees Celsius. Localised heavy rain is possible into the night. It will remain cloudy and rainy over Puducherry and variously so over the other cities in Tamil Nadu, including Salem, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Thoothukudi.
Chennai’s weather bloggers and Twitterati were agog speculating over what kind of weather the first day of December would bring the city. Some provided the latest rainfall figures from the rest of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry: