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Rainfall in Chennai: A Historical Analysis

Are you curious about the annual rainfall in Chennai over the years? Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu in India, is known for its hot and humid weather. However, the city also experiences its fair share of rainfall. In this blog post, we will explore the changing patterns of annual rainfall in Chennai and delve into the factors that contribute to this phenomenon.

Understanding Chennai’s Climate

Chennai has a tropical wet and dry climate, which means it has distinct wet and dry seasons. The city typically experiences four different seasons: winter (January and February), summer (March to May), southwest monsoon (June to September), and northeast monsoon (October to December).

Annual Rainfall Trends

Over the years, Chennai has witnessed significant fluctuations in its annual rainfall. Data from meteorological departments and agencies show that the city’s rainfall patterns have been inconsistent, with some years experiencing excessive rainfall while others facing drought-like conditions.

Between 2000 and 2010, Chennai witnessed an average annual rainfall of around 1,300 mm. However, this trend began to change in 2015 when the city experienced one of its worst droughts in decades. The year 2015 saw a drastic decline in rainfall, with the city receiving only 682 mm of rainfall, which is significantly below the average.

The following year, in 2016, Chennai experienced a complete turnaround. The city received a record-breaking rainfall of over 1,400 mm, causing widespread flooding and disruption. This sudden change in rainfall patterns left scientists and meteorologists puzzled.

Since then, Chennai has been oscillating between periods of excessive rainfall and below-average rainfall. In 2017, the city received around 1,150 mm of rainfall, while in 2018, it recorded only 825 mm. These fluctuations highlight the unpredictable nature of Chennai’s rainfall patterns.

Chennai City (Nungambakkam) 2000 mm Annual Rainfall years


2005 – 2566 mm

1996 – 2451 mm

𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟏 – 𝟐𝟐𝟓𝟗 𝐦𝐦

1943 – 2185 mm

1946 – 2130 mm

𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟑 – 𝟐𝟎𝟗𝟗 𝐦𝐦 (24 days left)

𝟐𝟎𝟏𝟓 – 𝟐𝟎𝟗𝟓 𝐦𝐦

1847 – 2057 mm

1997 – 2035 mm

1846 – 2027 mm

1884 – 2005 mm