Heavy rain pummelled parts of Kerala on Thursday under the influence of severe cyclonic storm Maha over the east-central Arabian Sea and adjoining Lakshadweep area. Disaster management officials in Thiruvananthapuram said around 1,017 people, belonging to 346 families, have been evacuated from the state’s vulnerable coastal areas to relief camps. The most number of camps have been opened in Ernakulam district (3), followed by Palakkad and Malappuram with 2 camps each. More relief camps are likely to be opened by Thursday night.
According to the India Meteorological Department, the severe cyclonic storm Maha is very likely to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm over the east-central Arabian Sea during the next 24 hours. At present, it lay centred about 90 km north-northeast of Amminidivi (Lakshadweep) and 330 km west-northwest of Kozhikode (Kerala). The sea conditions over Lakshadweep area are predicted to be rough to very rough over the subsequent 24 hours. With gale winds with speeds reaching 80-90 kmph and gusting to 100 kmph in the region, fishing operations are advised to be completely suspended over Comorin-Maldives during next 12 hours.
The cyclone could cause major damage to thatched huts along the coasts and power and communication lines. Damage to embankments, kutcha roads and coastal crops is also predicted.
Alongside Maha, the Kyarr cyclonic storm is also still brewing over west-central Arabian Sea although it is likely to weaken into a deep depression during the next 12 hours and move southwestwards.
The IMD had signalled code orange rain alert, signalling ‘isolated heavy to very heavy’ rainfall, on Thursday in five districts of Kerala. The Lakshwadeep island was issued code red alert, the highest warning. True to the IMD warning, the city of Kochi and other regions in the state received widespread rainfall with several areas of the city reporting heavy waterlogging. The Kayamkulam and Alappuzha stations of the IMD reported the highest daily rainfall in the state on Thursday with 103.0 mm and 103.3 mm respectively. Coastal villages like Chellanam and Edavanakkad have reported coastal erosion with the seawater seeping into homes.
This has been an extremely rainy October for the state compared to previous years. In October alone, Kerala has recorded excess rainfall with a 55% departure from normal rainfall. Between October 1 and 31, the state got 470 mm rainfall against a ‘normal’ of 303.4 mm. Six districts of the state reported ‘large excess’ rainfall.