NEW DELHI — The heaviest rainfall in more than 100 years has devastated swaths of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, forcing thousands to leave their submerged homes as schools, offices and an airport remained shut for a second day Thursday.

Chennai, the state capital, received more than 13 inches of rain over 24 hours, significantly higher than the average for the entire month of December, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said.

“I can’t even believe that this much water is possible in Chennai,” a woman told NDTV television as she stood waist deep.

“We don’t have any food. We don’t have any milk,” she said.

Low-lying neighborhoods and the city’s airport were almost completely submerged. The Airport Authority of India said the airport is likely to remain closed until Sunday.

The main train station also was forced to halt operations.

Hundreds of army, navy, police and fire department rescuers helped evacuate people trapped in their homes.

News reports said floodwaters released from a lake on the outskirts of Chennai inundated more neighborhoods in the city. The Adyar river, which runs through Chennai before draining into the Bay of Bengal, was flowing above the danger mark.

At least 269 people have been killed in the state since heavy rains began in early November, Singh said, although no deaths have been reported in the latest deluge.

The downpour eased early Thursday, but the Indian Meteorological Department predicted more heavy rain in several parts of the state through the rest of the week. The rains are caused by a depression in the Bay of Bengal, it said.

The state government cut power to several parts of Chennai as a safety measure to prevent electrocutions.

India’s main monsoon season runs from June through September, but the period from October to December – called the retreating monsoon – brings the most rainfall to India’s southeastern coastal areas.