Northern coastal Tamil Nadu witnessed light to moderate rainfall and some places heavy showers as the cyclonic storm ‘Mandous’ continued to move further closer to the State’s coastline, and it is set to cross the coast near here starting midnight, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday.
Under the influence of the cyclonic storm, widespread rainfall — light to moderate and heavy rainfall– was witnessed on December 9 in coastal areas and other parts of the State. An IMD official said Kodaikanal recorded 5 CM rains. People in vulnerable areas have been accommodated in relief shelters.
Head of IMD-Regional Meteorological Centre S Balachandran told reporters that between Chennai and Puducherry, 12 cyclones have crossed the coast in the past 130 years from 1891 to 2021. “If this cyclone crosses the coast near Mamallapuram, it will be the 13th cyclone to cross the coast (between Chennai and Puducherry).” At the disaster management control room here, Chief Minister M K Stalin reviewed the preparedness by interacting with monitoring officers and officials in districts.
“Heavy rainfall is predicted by midnight,” he told an official in Kancheepuram and tasked her to accordingly handle the situation. The Chief Minister later told reporters that all appropriate steps have been taken to tackle the situation and protect the people. Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu chaired a meeting of senior officials and reviewed the preparatory measures.
As many as 16,000 police personnel and 1,500 Home guards have been deployed here for security, relief and rescue tasks, and a 40-member team of TN State Disaster Response Force, in addition to 12 District Disaster Response Force teams, are on standby, police said here.
Already, nearly 400 personnel of the NDRF and State Disaster Response Force teams have been stationed in coastal regions, including those near the Cauvery delta areas.
The IMD said Doppler weather radars are monitoring the cyclone which weakened into a cyclonic storm on December 9 after being a severe cyclonic storm for less than 24 hours. It lay at about 135 km southeast of Mamallapuram (Friday 7.30 PM), Balachandran said.
The cyclonic storm is very likely to cross coast near Mamallapuram as a cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph, during midnight and early hours of Saturday.
Also known as Mahabalipuram, Mamallapuram is about 50 km from here.
Mandous, pronounced ‘man-dous’ is an Arabic word and it means treasure box and the name was reportedly picked by the United Arab Emirates.
The rains led to some disruption in bus services in view of water logging and at least 13 flights from here have been cancelled. Trains, including suburban services, were operated. r Transport Minister SS Sivasankar said bus services would be suspended in and around Mamallapuram and the East Coast Road two hours before and after the cyclone’s landfall. Buses ply as usual in coastal districts of Chennai, Chengelpet, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, Cuddalore and Villupuram, he said.
Schools and colleges were closed in coastal regions and a holiday has been declared for educational institutions on Saturday as well.
On December 10, rainfall is likely to reduce at most places though it is expected to be heavy to very heavy at isolated areas in north interior Tamil Nadu, Rayalaseema and adjoining southern Andhra Pradesh.
Following landfall, the cyclonic storm is set to lose intensity and become a deep depression and later a depression on December 10.
“Gale wind, speed reaching 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph prevails over southwest Bay of Bengal,” the IMD said. It would decrease gradually becoming 70-80 kmph gusting to 90 kmph from Friday evening, 55-65 kmph gusting to 75 kmph by December 10 early morning and 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph by Saturday evening.
For the 24-hour period ending Friday morning, several areas here and on the outskirts witnessed heavy rainfall (7 CM) and other coastal regions including Chengelpet and Nagapattinam recorded intermittent, light to moderate showers (upto 3 CM).
In neighbouring Puducherry, the territorial administration declared holiday for all schools and colleges in Puducherry and Karaikal regions on Friday and Saturday.The Department of Revenue and Disaster Management has deployed rescue teams. Chief Minister N Rangasamy held discussions with top officials.