HindustanTimes Thu,31 Jul 2014

Coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, Andhra on high alert

Agencies  Chennai/Hyderabad, October 30, 2012
First Published: 18:38 IST(30/10/2012) | Last Updated: 08:57 IST(31/10/2012)

Authorities were put on high alert after a deep depression lying 500km south east of Chennai intensified into a cyclonic storm and is expected to cross the coast between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, bringing in torrential rains in the region.

Coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh braced for a cyclonic storm that is expected to make landfall on Wednesday, as incessant rains hit normal life on Tuesday in Chennai.

The system, named Nilam, as suggested by Pakistan under the cyclone naming procedure, would move northwestwards and cross the coast between Nagapattinam and Nellore by tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Under the influence of the storm, rainfall at most places, with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall, would occur over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hours, a bulletin issued by Area Cyclone Warning Centre at 1pm said.

It forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (25 cm or more) in the region during the subsequent 36 hours.

"Squally winds speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 12 hours. The wind speed would gradually increase thereafter as the system comes closer to coast," it said.

In Andhra Pradesh, a third warning signal has been issued in Krishnapatnam, Vadarevu, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam ports.

Since sea will be "very rough to high", fishermen in the coastal areas of the state have been advised to stay off the sea.

Control rooms have been opened in the coastal districts, particularly SPS Nellore and Prakasam that are expected to face a major impact of the cyclone.

Windspeeds can reach upto 90km in Chennai and there could be some disruption in communication lines, the bulletin said.

Danger signals ranging from five to seven have been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Puducherry ports.

Normal life in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Villupuram was hit by incessant rains since Tuesday morning. A holiday was declared for schools and colleges.

In AP, a third warning signal has been issued in Krishnapatnam, Vadarevu, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam ports while fishermen have been warned not to venture into sea.

Chennai port, on the country's southeast coast, has stopped cargo operations after a cyclone warning, a port official said on Tuesday.

"Only cargo operations have stopped, not berthing," said the official, who requested anonymity.

The port handles about 10% of traffic passing through the country's major ports, covering a variety of cargoes including crude oil, petroleum products and agricultural commodities.

The Meteorological Department said cyclonic storm Nilam was about 450 kilometres south-southeast of Chennai at 2:30pm local time.

The IMD said the system was expected to move north-northwest and cross the coast near Chennai by the evening of October 31.

The port official said so far two of the 10 vessels waiting for loading or discharge of cargoes have been moved outside to ensure the port's safety and the others would be moved gradually.

Cargo operations were suspended from about 1330 local time and the suspension could continue to Wednesday afternoon or evening, he added.

Krishnapatnam port, which handles around 15 million tonnes of cargo a year including coal, fertilisers and agricultural products, also halted cargo operations, a port official said.

"Just doing this for safety reasons," the official said, adding there were 9 vessels at berth in the port, which is also on the east coast.

Chennai Petroleum Corp Limited's two refineries in the city, which have combined capacity of about 230,000 barrels per day (bpd), were operating normally, its managing director AS Basu, told Reuters.

The north Indian Ocean usually sees about five cyclones a year, about 5-6% of all cyclones, with October-November and May-June seeing the most severe ones.

Chennai handled just over 27 million tonnes of traffic in April-September, according to the shipping ministry.

The weather office will issue its next bulletin on the storm at 1500 GMT.

Control rooms have been opened in the coastal districts, particularly SPS Nellore and Prakasam that are expected to face a major impact of the cyclone.

(With PTI and Reuters inputs)


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