Following a brief period of dry weather, downpours have resumed in southern India once again causing dangerous flooding.
Tropical moisture from the Bay of Bengal surged back into southern India, drenching areas from Nagapattinam to Nellore this week, and the threat will continue into this weekend.
Rainfall spread as far north as Visakhapatnam in northeastern Andhra Pradesh early this week; however, the heaviest rain remains focused over eastern Tamil Nadu.
The unsettled weather will persist into the weekend across Tamil Nadu, while also impacting Kerala and far southern Karnataka.
The most numerous downpours and heaviest rainfall will be focused on the southeast coast of India from Ramanathapuram northward to Chennai on Thursday and Friday.
New flooding problems will remain a concern with additional rainfall of 100-200 mm (4-8 inches) from Thursday through Sunday.
Rain-weary southern India is definitely in need of a persistent dry spell, following the wettest November in more than 20 years for some areas.
While November and December are typically wet across Tamil Nadu, this year was exceptional.
Rainfall has been relentless across southern India since early November, resulting in multiple events of flooding from Chennai to Kochi.
For the month of November, Chennai has reported 1,024 mm (40.31 inches) of rain, more than 300 percent of the normal rainfall that is expected for the entire month.
December continued this wet pattern as more than 300 mm (12 inches) of rain fell in Chennai on the first day of the month. This is the wettest December day in more than 100 years of records in Chennai.
This most recent rainfall has resulted in closure of Chennai's airport along with widespread road closures and power outages according to the Associated Press. At least 188 people have died from flooding in Tamil Nadu since November.
A similar weather pattern in November 1997 resulted in more than 760 mm (30 inches) in Chennai but still fell well short of the recent torrential rainfall.
December 1997 brought continued heavy rainfall to southern India and Chennai during the first half of the month, and this pattern looks very similar to what is expected this December.
Continuing surges of moisture from the Bay of Bengal will fuel scattered to widespread rainfall into next week with above-normal precipitation expected through at least the first half of the month.
Drier weather is expected to finally return before the end of the month, and this will likely continue into January as southern India enters the dry season.