A DEEP depression over Bay of Bengal that has intensified into a cyclonic storm is expected to make landfall Wednesday evening along the Tamil Nadu coast with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph, gusting up to 145 kmph, weather officials said on Tuesday. Authorities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which are expected to take the brunt of cyclone Nivar, said precautionary measures were being taken while the central government assured all necessary help.
In New Delhi, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said Nivar was likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm in the next 12 hours and into a very severe cyclonic storm in the subsequent 12 hours.
“It is very likely to move west-northwestwards for next 12 hours and then northwestwards. It is very likely to cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram on November 25 late evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph,’’ IMD Director General Dr M Mohapatra said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy and assured all possible support from the Centre. “I pray for the safety and well-being of those living in the affected areas,” the Prime Minister later tweeted.
Apart from Chennai and some other parts of Tamil Nadu, Mohapatra said, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana will experience heavy rainfall as the cyclone proceeds over the next two days after making landfall.
In Tamil Nadu, six districts are likely to be severely affected while nine other districts will be affected, officials said.
A tidal wave of about 1.5m height above the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas of north coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, near the place of the landfall, Mohapatra said.
Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister R B Udhaya Kumar told The Indian Express that the state government was taking evacuation measures. A total of 2,537 people have been shifted to relief centres, largely in Ariyalur, Ranipet and Chengalpet regions, he said. “We have 4,733 relief camps with a total capacity of 12 lakh people ready, some 85 centres are opened currently,” he said.
The state government has announced public holiday on Wednesday. Barring essential services, government offices across the state will remain closed.
All private bus services were ordered to stop operations in six districts – Chengalpattu, Villupuram, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur and Cuddalore – from Tuesday afternoon. Several train services from Chennai were suspended for Wednesday.
In Puducherry, a magisterial order was issued, imposing prohibitory orders under Section 144 from Tuesday 9 pm till 6 am Thursday morning.
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar said additional manpower has been deployed and vehicles positioned near government hospitals and police stations to prevent problems arising out of power failure and disruption of telecommunication facilities.
While the Navy and Coast Guard have made preparations to deploy relief teams, National Disaster Response Force DG S N Pradhan said in Delhi it has deployed 22 relief and rescue teams in Tamil Nadu, Pudducherry and Andhra Pradesh while eight teams have been kept on standby.
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