Torrential rains have forced an airport in southern India to close and have cut off several roads and highways, leaving tens of thousands of people stranded.

Junior Home Minister Kiren Rijiju said Wednesday that the annual winter monsoon rains in Tamil Nadu state are the heaviest the region has seen in decades. Army and naval rescue teams are helping evacuate residents stranded in low-lying areas.

The airport in the state capital Chennai was closed earlier on Wednesday, and television channels reported that most main roads in the city were blocked by several feet of water and that power supplies had been cut.

The state has seen heavy rains for two weeks, and more heavy rain is forecast over the next several days.