Cyclone Gaja is expected to make landfall on Thursday late evening in Tamil Nadu between Cuddalore and Pamban districts, leading to heavy rains for the next 48 hours, according to the IMD.
The storm which intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Thursday morning prompted the state government to keep nearly 30,000 rescue personnel on standby for relief operations. All education institutions remained shut in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry today and private firms were advised to send their employees home by 4 pm.
Follow LIVE Updates | Puducherry CM reviews preparedness, relief centres opened in Tamil Nadu
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanaswamy reviewed the preparedness of various government departments to tackle the situation.
In neighbouring Tamil Nadu, agriculture minister R Kamalakannan visited Karaikal, about 20 km from Nagapattinam, to review preparations at relief camps in the area. The cyclone is most likely to affect low lying areas of Tamil Nadu such as Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram which have been marked as vulnerable districts.
The cyclone, according to Union Minister for Earth Sciences Dr Harshavadrdhan, is expected to hit Tamil Nadu between 8 and 11 pm today. The cyclonic storm is likely to bring rains in neighbouring states of Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. Fishermen were warned against venturing into the sea along the Tamil Nadu-Puducherry coast and Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh coasts and fishing activities were suspended.
Tamil Nadu Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management appealed to hut dwellers in Nagapattinam area to co-operate and move to multipurpose evacuation shelters. Nearly 1313, people were evacuated and shifted to relief camps in Nagapattinam according to PTI reports.
The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority has also been issuing do’s and don’ts in view of during and after the landfall. Though Chennai has not recorded heavy rainfall, government machinery had been put on high alert in vulnerable districts since evening to avoid serious circumstances. The storm will retain its intensity for nearly six hours, after landfall according to IMD reports.