Cyclone Nivar to make landfall on Wednesday evening, Tamil Nadu braces for storm
The deep depression over southwest Bay of Bengal has strengthened into a cyclonic storm, Nivar, and it hovered 450 km southeast of Chennai, the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said Tuesday.
Prime minister Narendra Modi has spoken to chief ministers of Tamil Nadu chief minister and Puducherry-- Edapaddi K Palaniswami and V Narayanaswamy, assuring them of assistance from the Centre.
Cyclone Nivar is expected to cross the coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and make a landfall between Mamallapuram and Karaikal on November 25 evening as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph.
Tamil Nadu is applying the lessons learnt from the previous devastating cyclones, Gaja in 2018 and Vardah in 2016, to prepare for the heavy rains and wind that have been forecast from the day in Chennai and districts such as Cuddlaore, Pudukottai and Villupuram.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been mobilised to coastal regions. Six teams are in Cuddalore -- one of the worst affected regions in the state during every monsoon and cyclone. Two NDRF teams are on standby in Chennai and one in Madurai.
People in low-lying and flood-prone areas have been asked to move to safer places and district authorities are shifting them to relief camps with food and necessary medical aids. Chief minister Palaniswami has urged people to avoid going out for the next three days. Authorities have warned of damage to thatched roofs, kuchcha roads, water logging, suspension of electricity and uprooting of trees due to the severe cyclone.
Civic workers in Chennai have been pressed into clearing waterlogged roads. The water level at Chembarambakkam lake, which swelled and caused the 2015 floods in Chennai, reached 82.62 feet out of 85.40 feet with an inflow of 220 cusecs. “People need not panic. The situation is under good control,” said Greater Chennai Corporation commissioner, G Prakash. The city has opened 80 relief camps and another 80 is on stand-by.
Southern Railways cancelled a few train services and inter and intra bus-services, including those of private buses, have been suspended in seven districts. Fishing operations are completely suspended. Medical counselling for undergraduate courses scheduled on Tuesday in Chennai has been postponed to November 30.
The previous cyclone to make a landfall in Tamil Nadu was Gaja (classified as a very severe cyclonic storm) during the north east monsoon in mid- November 2018. It claimed 46 lives and left a trail of destruction leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, primarily across ten districts.
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