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Cyclone Gaja HIGHLIGHTS: After landfall, heavy rains pound Tamil Nadu coast, trees and houses uprooted

Cyclone Gaja lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wee hours of Friday. Heavy rains were accompanied by strong winds which uprooted trees and damaged roofs of houses. Here are the HIGHLIGHTS.

By HT Correspondent | Nov 16, 2018 02:58 IST

Cyclone Gaja lashed the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wee hours of Friday. Heavy rains were accompanied by strong winds which uprooted trees and damaged roofs of houses.

With the Tamil Nadu government already declaring that 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby, the district collectors of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram have declared holiday for schools and colleges on Thursday.

Educational institutions in Puducherry and Karaikal regions are closed today and tomorrow in view of the cyclone.

Here are the highlights:

2:18am IST

Visuals from Vedaranyam

2:03am IST

Cyclone picks up speed again

After wind speed reduced for some time due to the eye of the cyclone touching shore, Cyclone Gaja has picked up speed again.

1:48am IST

Tracking Gaja and the cyclone’s possible effects

1:46am IST

Visuals from Nagapattinam

1:40am IST

One hour for cyclone to fully cross from sea to land

The eye of cyclone Gaja is now making a landfall. It will take one hour for it to fully cross from sea to land. The intensity of the wind will be less when the eye of the cyclone falls on land and it will again increase gradually: Chennai MeT department tells ANI.

1:38pm IST

Cyclone Gaja makes landfall

Eye of cyclone touches shore. Wind speed has fallen. However, it would rise again in 15-30 minutes.

1:18am IST

Visuals from Nagapattinam

1:05am IST

Houses collapse, trees uprooted

Heavy rains accompanied by strong winds as outer edge of the cyclone reaches shore. Roofs of many thatched houses damaged in Vedaranyam. Trees uprooted in Nagapattinam town as cyclone nears shores between Karaikal and Vedaranyam.

1:00am IST

Cyclone only 50 km away now

Eye of the cyclone is only 50 km northeast of Vedaranyam. It will take 2-3 hours to reach the shore.

12:48am IST

Visuals from Cuddalore

12:46am IST

Heavy rainfall in Vedaranyam

Heavy rainfall, along with strong winds, reported in Vedaranyam. Speed of wind is 100 to 120 kmph.

12:04am IST

Cyclone only 80 km southeast of Karaikal

Gaja cyclone now lies at about 80 km southeast of Karaikal, moving at 16 kmph. It’s expected to cross through Vedaranyam and Nagapattinam between 12 am and 3 am. Within the next one hour, the eye of the cyclone is expected to touch land. Wind speed is 100-120 kmph: Balachandran, Chennai Met official tells ANI.

12:00am IST

29,000 permanent cyclone shelters, says Tamil Nadu minister

There are 29,000 permanent cyclone shelters, 233 shelters made in schools, colleges and marriage halls. More than 5,000 people are present in these shelters, food is being provided to them: MC Sampath, Tamil Nadu minister tells ANI.

11:58pm IST

Fully prepared, says Tamil Nadu minister

The chief minister had instructed the district administration, so they are on alert at all places. There has not been a single incident. Cuddalore district has seen so many cyclones, so our preparation is very good: MC Sampath, Tamil Nadu minister tells ANI.

11:38pm IST

Visuals from relief camp in Nagapattinam

11:28pm IST

More visuals from Nagapattinam

11:12pm IST

Cyclonic storm reaches Nagapattinam tip

Cyclonic storm reaches Point Calimere in Kodiyakkarai in Nagapattinam district. Strong winds reach Vedaranyam.

10:54pm IST

Landfall speed expected to be around 100-110 kmph

No power in coastal hamlets.People have left for relief camps. Villages are looking like ghost towns. IMD says landfall speed would be around 100-110 kmph gusting to 120kmph.

10:44pm IST

Landfall expected by 12 in the midnight

Landfall will happen by 12 in the midnight, say IMD officials. Strong winds have started to blow in Kodiyakkarai of Nagapattinam.

10:30pm IST

Visuals of rainfall from Nagapattinam

9:52pm IST

Heavy rains start

Heavy rainfall starts in southern Nagapattinam district.

9:42pm IST

Current wind speed 90-100kms

The current wind speed of the cyclone is 90 to 100 kms, gusting to 110 kms: IMD

9:40pm IST

Cyclonic storm now 95 km away

The cyclonic storm is still 95 km away. Earlier, we had said that it will hit the coast between Pamban and Cuddalore, now we know it will hit somewhere south of Nagapattinam: Dr Mrityunjay Mohapatra, senior scientist, IMD.

9:22pm IST

Eye of the storm about 26 km wide

The eye of the storm is about 26 km wide, say IMD officials.

9:10pm IST

Cyclone now 125 km east of Puducherry coast

Cyclone now in Bay of Bengal about 125 km east of Karaikal in Puducherry. Post 10.30 pm, strong winds will blow in the coastal parts: IMD Chennai.

8:58pm IST

26,399 people evacuated

26,399 people have been evacuated and sent to 164 relief camps, say Tamil Nadu government officials.

8:35pm IST

14,445 people evacuated

14,445 people have been evacuated from Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Thiruvarur and Cuddalore districts. They have been sent to 94 relief centres: Tamil Nadu government

8:25pm IST

Coast guards in action

Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations request fisheries authorities in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to account for all fishing boats.

8:20pm IST

Eight coast guard ships, two aircraft in action

Around eight Indian Coast Guard ships and two Dornier aircraft were pressed into action since November 9 for issuance of advisories and warnings in local languages to fishermen at sea for their safe return to ports, the defence ministry said.

7:52pm IST

Salt makers worried

Salt makers in Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district say almost three lakh tonne salt worth Rs 21 crore would be destroyed if rainfall is more than 20 cm.

7:40pm IST

30,500 relief personnel deployed

Around 30,500 relief personnel, including eight teams each of NDRF and SDRF, policemen and civic volunteers, have been deployed for rescuing people.

7:36pm IST

Hundreds of rescue vehicles and ambulances ready

931 rescue vehicles and 400 ambulances kept ready in seven coastal districts, say officials.

7:27pm IST

Cyclone speed down

The speed at which the cyclone is hurtling towards the coast comes down to 10 kmph, say IMD Chennai officials. As of now, the cyclone is about 140km northeast to Nagapattinam.

7:25pm IST

Outer edge of cyclone close to shores

IMD Chennai officials say the outer edge of the cyclone has come close to the shores. They expect landfall in two hours.

7:24pm IST

Streets dark and deserted in Nagapattinam

7:15pm IST

Power shut in all seven coastal districts

Power has been shut down in all seven coastal districts. Shops were also kept closed. Bus operations are suspended.

7:08pm IST

Choppers carrying essentials rushed

Helicopters with food and materials rushed to Nagapattinam from Vishakapattinam.

7:07pm IST

Schools shut tomorrow

Schools declare holiday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Ramanathapuram, Nagai, Pudukkottai, Thiruvarur and Thanjavur districts tomorrow.

7:06pm IST

Minister urges people to move to relief camps

As the cyclonic storm is coming close, revenue minister RB Udhayakumar appeals to Nagapattinam people to vacate their huts and urged them to move to relief camps.

7:05pm IST

Entry restricted into Marina, other major beaches

Entry restricted into Marina and other major beaches of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Sporadic rains continue in northern and central coasts of Tamil Nadu.

7:00pm IST

Three vessels sent to Cuddalore and Nagapattinam

Three vessels have been sent from Chennai to Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts for rescue and rehabilitation operations.

6:30pm IST

NDRF teams on standby

5:15pm IST

Visuals of heavy rainfall from Cuddalore

01:10pm IST

Cyclone 290 km away

The cyclone is about 290 km northeast of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu

12:45pm IST

Towns deserted as people shift to relief camps

Kodiyakkarai coastal town looks like a ghost town as people leave for relief camps. ( HT photo )
11:58am IST

Power supply to be cut off in vulnerable districts

Power supply will be cut off in the evening in the districts that fall in the path of the cyclonic storm, Tamil Nadu electricity minister P Thangamani announced.

11:52am IST

Minister reviews preparedness in fishing hamlet

Tamil Nadu handloom minister OS Manian reviews work at Aarkkattuthurai fishing hamlet near Vedaranyam of Nagapattinam district, where the cyclone is expected to cross shore.

11:43am IST

People move to relief camps

Fishermen from Akkaraipettai, Keechankuppam, Nambiar Nagar, Aarkkattuthurai move to temporary relief camps.

11:36am IST

Cyclonic storm Gaja picks pace

Cyclonic storm picks pace, moving at 25 km per hour and is 290 km away. It is moving towards Nagapattinam . In its Thursday bulletin, the IMD said the cyclone was moving at 14 km per hour.

11:30am IST

Rain spells in Cuddalore, Puducherry

Rain spells start in Puducherry and Cuddalore, sea is also aggressive.

10:25am IST

We are prepared, says district collector

As cyclone Gaja gathers strength in the Bay of Bengal, Ramanathapuram district collector Veera Raghava Rao says that they are fully equipped to deal with any situation.

10:00am IST

Tourist spots off bounds

Tourism spots in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam are closed. Permissions has been denied for tourists to enter into Dhanuskodi point near Rameswaram.

9:35am IST

Thousands evacuated from Nagapattinam

87,000 people have been evacuated from 34 villages in Nagapattinam district.