CHENNAI: Authorities on Monday halted operations at Chennai airport after the runway was submerged due to torrential rain a day before Cyclone Michaung makes landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning.
Chennai airport closed the airfield for arrival operations from 9:17am till 11.30am. Following a review, the airport announced on X, formerly Twitter, that the airfield had been shut for arrival and departure operations till 11pm “due to severe weather conditions”.
The airport, counted as one of India’s busiest airports, handles an average of 500 flights every day.
A Chennai airport official said the flight operations were normal on Sunday but they were forced to shut the airport today due to the cyclonic storm.
“We will, however, review the situation by 8pm to take a call if the operations will have to be suspended further,” a second airport official said.
Cyclone Michaung is expected to make landfall on the coast of Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said, with sustained winds of 90-100 kph (56-62 mph), gusting to 110 kph.
Videos on social media showed planes with their wheels submerged in water at the Chennai airport and floodwater sweeping away cars through the streets in parts of the city.
Meteorological Department has reiterated its forecast of heavy rainfall, accompanied by gales in parts of Andhra Pradesh over the next three days from Monday to Wednesday. Due to the incessant rains, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) have stopped devotees from taking the holy bath at Sri Kapilathirtham waterfalls.
33 flights to Chennai were diverted to the Kempegowda International Airport on Monday, a PTI report said quoting Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) officials.