Heavy Chennai rains end dry spell of 112 days, no respite from water crises

June 20, 2019 5:38 PM |

Chennai rains

Chennai rains have finally returned to the city, ending a prolonged dry period of 112 days. The state capital has been presently witnessing rains, which are likely to stay for the next couple of hours. Rains started on a light note but became intense soon. As per the rainfall data, Chennai has recorded 29 mm of rains in span of mere three hours from 2:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

These showers also plunged the day maximums significantly from 41 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius at present.

Last time when Chennai saw the rains were on February 28 to the tune of 4 mm. According to weathermen, the reason for the return of rains could be attributed to the low pressure area over North Bay of Bengal, off the Odisha coast. A trough is also running from this system along the East Coast. Both the systems have made the conditions conducive for rains over Chennai.

Weathermen are predicting these rains to stay over Chennai for the next 2-3 days, but these rains would be light in nature only.

Chennai water crises

However, these rains would not be able to bail out Chennai from the ongoing acute water scarcity that the city has been battling for the last many days. The situation has become more grim that local authorities have to cut short time for schools after doing the same for hotels and offices.

Being a rain shadow area, Chennai does not record much rains during the Southwest Monsoon. In fact, out of the four Monsoon months, June receives the least of all to the tune of 55 mm. So far, the city has recorded absolutely no rainfall. Even the leftover over 10 days would not be able to recover the rainfall deficiency.

To be very precise, Chennai survives of Northeast Monsoon, that fetches 60% of the annual rainfall for the city. The season spans from October to December, with November being the rainiest.

The ongoing water crises in Chennai is a result of back to back failed Monsoon and pre-Monsoon seasons. The Northeast Monsoon 2018 ended with large rainfall deficiency to the tune of  44%, with Chennai being rain deficient by 50%. In fact, the pre-Monsoon season 2019 also ended with a rainfall deficiency of 25%. As a result, reservoir status are at record low.

Thus, picture does not seems to very comfortable as Monsoon rains would not be able to help Chennai. The city has to depend on the other resources for some help. The only hope of revival would be the Northeast Monsoon 2019.

It is usually seen that Northeast Monsoon performs well during the El Niño years. Besides this, unlike Southwest Monsoon, we do not get to see two consecutive failed Northeast Monsoon seasons.

Image Credit:en.wikipedia.org

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