Downpours pose risk of flooding in Chennai, southern India into Thursday night

By Kristina Pydynowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
By Eric Leister, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
November 22, 2018, 8:25:54 AM EST

Despite not becoming a cyclone, a storm is still expected to threaten southern India with flooding rain through Thursday night

Numerous downpours will spread westward across southern India through Thursday night as a new storm pushes inland from the Bay of Bengal.

"Although this storm is much weaker than Cyclone Gaja, it has already produced heavy rain and flooding across parts of southern India" said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dave Houk.

India 11/21

Eastern and central Tamil Nadu have endured the brunt of the storm's heaviest rain.

Chennai was lashed by periods of heavy rain and thunderstorms from Wednesday into Thursday with widespread rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches). A waterspout was also reported just off the coastline near Chennai.

Other areas that have endured downpours with localized flooding and travel disruptions include Nagappattinam, Cuddalore and Nellore.

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Damaged or flooded roads can lead to major travel disruptions. Remember to never drive through a flooded road; doing so can put your life and your occupants in danger.

Download the free AccuWeather app to remain aware of any flood hazards.

Even in the absence of flash flooding, the heavy rain can lead to hazards for motorists by reducing visibility and heightening the risk of vehicles hydroplaning when traveling at highway speeds. Flight delays and cancellations can also result.

Gaja Nov 16

The aftermath of cyclone Gaja is seen in Tamil Nadu, India, on November 16, 2018 in this picture obtained from social media. (SHABBIR AHMED/via REUTERS)

Downpours also lashed the areas hardest-hit by Cyclone Gaja, disrupting cleanup operations. However, the heaviest rainfall in these areas has come to an end.

Xinhua reports that at least 46 people were killed after Gaja slammed onto the coast of Tamil Nadu, between Vedaranyam and Velankanni, during the early morning hours of last Friday as a severe cyclonic storm. Hundreds of livestock also perished in the storm.

As many as 56,000 huts were completely destroyed with around 30,000 others partially damaged, according to Times of India. Nearly 170,000 trees were uprooted in coastal districts as electric cables were snapped.

Officials estimate that 250,000 have been displaced due to Gaja. The majority have taken refuge in more than 351 relief camps, according to Xinhua.

Outside of any negative impacts, any wet weather will aid in reducing the rainfall shortage that southern India, aside from Kerala, is currently enduring.

While the heaviest rain will have departed, occasional rain and thunderstorms will continue to dampen southern India on Friday.

Dry weather is then expected to sweep in this weekend and early next week, but there are signs of more rain returning to close out the month.

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