Cyclone Nivar has intensified into a ‘severe cyclonic storm’ and is likely to hit the Indian coast between Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu and Karaikal in Puducherry by midnight or early morning, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Nivar is likely to make the landfall with wind speeds up to 130 km per hour gusting up to 146 km per hour, the weather office said. It has warned that the powerful cyclonic storm is likely to bring extremely heavy rainfall that could result in flooding in low-lying areas.
Authorities in Chennai have decided to release 1,000 cusecs surplus water from the Chemvarambakkam lake outside the capital on Wednesday. The release of water is likely to increase the water level in the Adyar river and the administration is evacuating people in low-lying areas along the river.
The Tamil Nadu authorities, as a precautionary measure, have evacuated around 2,000 people from low lying areas in Cuddalore district. The administration has requested people not to panic at the moment and stay indoors. Apart from emergency and essential services, all other services have been suspended.
Tamil Nadu minister RB Udhayakumar said the government is monitoring water levels in four reservoirs—Chembarambakkam, Red Hills, Cholavaram and Poondi.
Puducherry Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi appealed people to stay indoors and move to safer places. Apart from emergency and essential services, all other services have been suspended in Puducherry.
Around 1,200 National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel have been deployed in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as well, NDRF chief SN Pradhan said.
Twelve teams are in Tamil Nadu (six in Cuddalore district and two in Chennai), seven in Andhra Pradesh and three in Puducherry. An additional 20 teams will be on standby in Odisha’s Cuttack, Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh and Thrissur in Kerala.
Due to the high wind speed combined with rain, major damage is expected to thatched houses and hutments. Power and communication lines may also get damaged. Also, the rainfall will result in flooding in low-lying areas, while widespread damage to coastal crops is also expected.
The weather office has directed the authorities to completely suspend fishing operations and advised fishermen not to venture into the sea.
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