Cyclone Nivar turns severe, rains lash Chennai, suburbs

Traffic was hit in Chennai due to rains. A scene at Tirusulam near airport.

Chennai: The deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards with a speed of five kmph during the past some hours, intensified into a Cyclonic Storm ‘Nivar’ and would cross between Tamilnadu and Puducherry coasts as a severe cyclonic storm tomorrow.

A bulletin issued by the Met office today said the storm now lay centred over southwest Bay of Bengal about 410 km east -southeast of Puducherry and 450 km southeast of Chennai.

It is very likely to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours, move west-northwestwards for next 12 hours and then northwestwards.

The storm is likely to cross Tamilnadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram, about 55 km from here, around Puducherry tomorrow evening as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph.

Met office has issued Red alert for Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Karaikal for tomorrow and yellow alert for today and for Thursday and Friday.

Gale wind speed reaching 65-75 kmph and gusting to 85 kmph is prevailing over Southwest Bay of Bengal. It would further increase becoming 100-110 kmph and gusting to 120 kmph over the southwest Bay of Bengal from tomorrow morning for subsequent 18 hours.

Squally wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph has been prevailing along and off Tamilnadu, Puducherry and adjoining South Andhra Pradesh coast and over Gulf of Mannar.

It will gradually increase and become 100-110 kmph and gusting to 120 kmph along and off coastal districts of North Tamilnadu and Puducherry (Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Myladuthurai, Cuddalore, Puducherry, Villupuram and Chengalpattu districts; 80-90 gusting to 100 kmph very likely over Tiruvarur, Kanchipuram, Chennai, Tiruvallaur districts) from tomorrow forenoon to night.

Heavy downpour

Incessant rains lashed Chennai, suburbs and the delta districts of the State in view of the weather system. Met office said the intensity of the rainfall would increase gradually when the Cyclone moves towards the coast and at the time of making the landfall.

Call from Delhi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and discussed the precautionary measures taken by the government in view of the Cyclone. He also assured all necessary help and cooperation to the state government, an official release said.

Top officials at work

The Tamilnadu government has geared up to meet the situation. Senior IAS and IPS officials were appointed in various districts to monitor the situaton. District administrations in the delta region and central region of the State have been on alert and has put in place measures to tackle the impact of the cyclone. The emphasis of the district adminstrations was on preventing loss of human lives, livestock, cattle and property. The Police, Fire and Rescue Services, Revenue and other main departments have also been put on high alert.

Buses cancelled

Bus services were suspended from today afternoon in seven districts, where the rains, accompanied by strong winds, were expected to be very extreme, till further orders. Southern Railway also cancelled a couple of trains and partially cancelled several other trains as a precautionary measures.

Chennai ready

The Greater Chennai Corporation has set up relief centres at 75 locations across the city to house people evacuated from low lying areas in view of the cyclonic storm.

Sources said about 19 areas were identified as vulnerable to flooding and the authorities have advise people in these areas to move to relief centres. The Chief Minister chaired a meeting to take stock of the preventive measures put in place and issued directions to officials to ensure that people remain safe.

Director General of Police J K Tripathy has deputed ten police officers in the rank of Inspector General of Police (IG)/Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) to monitor and supervise rescue and relief works in wake of Cyclone.

Huts, crops and trees to be damaged more

Major damages to thatched houses/huts with possibility of roof tops being blown off and unattached metal sheets may fly in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining Andhra Pradesh. Damage to power and communication lines, major damage to Kutcha and some damage to pucca roads, Flooding of escape routes, breaking of tree branches, uprooting of large avenue trees was also likely. Severe damage to banana and papaya trees, horticulture and crops and orchards, large dead limbs blown from trees, major damage to coastal crops, damage to embankments/salt pans is also likely.

Fishermen asked not to venture into sea

The met office suggested total suspension of fishing operations. Fishermen are advised not to venture into Southwest and adjoining west-central and southeast Bay of Bengal, Gulf of Mannar and along and off Tamilnadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts for the next two days. Fishermen who had ventured into the sea are advised to return to the coast and coastal hutment dwellers were asked to move to safer places and people were asked to stay indoors.

TNEB ready for challenge

The Tamilnadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (TANGEDCO) has kept men, machinery and materials ready to handle the impact of Cyclone Nivar.
Adequate manpower was deployed for clearing and cutting uprooted tree branches. They were also advised to cut tree branches which could cause damage to transformers and overhead power lines during downpours.

Electricity Minister P Thangamani said as a precautionary measure, power supply would be cut for one hour at the time of cyclone crossing the coast.

MBBS counselling postponed

The counselling for admission to MBBS/BDS courses, scheduled for today was postponed to November 30. The rescheduled dates will be intimated in due course, an official release said. Health department said necessary arrangements would be made for candidates who have already arrived for counselling.

 

NT Bureau