At least 17 people, including a four-year-old boy, died in and around the city in the flooding triggered by incessant downpours brought about by the severe cyclonic storm, which made landfall in Andhra Pradesh state on Tuesday.
Rescuers used boats, inflatable rafts, and ropes to rescue people stranded in houses for two days without electricity or basic supplies. Indian Air Force's Chetak helicopters were deployed to drop food rations to people stuck on the terrace of their houses.
Chennai-based actor Vishnu Vishal on Tuesday raised an alarm on social media, seeking help from authorities due to the rising water levels that inundated his house.
Thanks to the fire and rescue department in helping people like us who are stranded
Rescue operations have started in karapakkam..
Saw 3 boats functioning already
Great work by TN govt in such testing times
Thanks to all the administrative people who are working relentlessly https://t.co/QdoW7zaBuI pic.twitter.com/qyzX73kHmc
— VISHNU VISHAL - VV (@TheVishnuVishal) December 5, 2023
Later in the day, he expressed gratitude to rescue officials for evacuating him along with badminton player Jwala Gutta – who is also his wife – and Mr Khan.
"Rescue operations have started in Karapakkam. Saw three boats functioning already. Great work by Tamil Nadu government in such testing times. Thanks to all the administrative people who are working relentlessly," Mr Vishal wrote on social X, formerly known as Twitter.
— Greater Chennai Corporation (@chennaicorp) December 5, 2023
The actor shared pictures of Mr Khan along with his family sitting on an inflatable boat surrounded by rescue personnel.
Mr Khan, a Bollywood star, has been reportedly living in Chennai since October to be close to his ailing mother, who was undergoing treatment in the city.
Water receded from the main areas of the industrial city on Wednesday but several residents were still trapped in their homes in the waterlogged suburbs of Chennai. Hundreds of people sent out SOS pleas on social media, requesting urgent evacuations.
Distressing visuals sent by residents of Chennai's Perumbakkam, where, residents had to go without water, electricity and food for 48 hours, till many of them were evacuated this morning with the help of fishing boats. #ChennaiFloods #Perumbakkam @thenewsminute pic.twitter.com/C0t73GU8nc
— Korah Abraham (@thekorahabraham) December 6, 2023
On Monday, over 9,600 people were moved to 236 relief camps in eight locations as part of precautionary measures, the state government said.
More than 700 personnel from the National and State Disaster Response Force were deployed for the rescue operation while over 4,300 healthcare workers were mobilised to eight districts of Tamil Nadu, chief minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin said.
He said the power situation was being restored in phases.
Photos and videos showed rescue workers wading through waist-deep waters. "There are pockets of low-lying areas," said Greater Chennai Corporation commissioner Dr J Radhakrishnan. "We to hope clear it soon."
The state government extended holidays for schools and colleges in the Chennai district till Thursday.
Mr Stalin has urged prime minister Narendra Modi to release Rs50.6bn (£481m) for the state to take up relief measures in the cyclone-battered state.
Raj Bhagat P, a civil engineer and geo-analytics expert, told Reuters that better stormwater drainage systems in the city would not have been able to prevent the flooding.
"This solution would have helped a lot in moderate and heavy rainfall, but not in very heavy and extremely heavy rains," he said.
In Andhra Pradesh, which bore the brunt of the cyclone, the damage was relatively contained, with roads damaged and trees uprooted as big waves crashed into the coast.
In December 2015, floods in Tamil Nadu killed at least 290 people and caused widespread damage.