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Cyclone Nivar likely to hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts

Cyclone Nivar likely to hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram after midnight; Evacuation efforts in full swing
Heavy and incessant rain is pounding Chennai and its suburbs and several other districts in Tamil Nadu since this morning, due to the Severe Cyclone Nivar in the Bay of Bengal.

The MET Department said, the weather system has moved west-north westwards with a speed of 11 km per hour during the past six hours and lay centred at about 110 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, 120 km east southeast of Puducherry and 214 km south southeast of Chennai. It is very likely to intensify further into a very severe cyclonic storm in the next six hours.

It is set to move north westwards and hit Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram, close to Puducherry during the mid-night today and early hours of tomorrow as a very severe cyclonic storm, with a wind speed of 120 to 130 km per hour gusting to 145 km per hour.

Moderate to heavy rain has been experienced in most districts. North Chennai witnessed a maximum of 16 centimeter rain in the last 24-hours. As the sea is rough, fishermen have stayed off the seas.

The Greater Chennai Corporation, the Chennai Metrowater and all the district administrations that fall under the vicinity of the cyclone have announced separate helpline numbers for the public to address their grievances.

They have established separate control rooms that function 24-by-7. The state police have also installed control rooms in the districts to coordinate rescue and relief efforts. In addition, the state disaster management authority is operating an emergency control room in Chennai which is functional for the past many days in a seamless fashion.

The Tamil Nadu Government has announced holiday tomorrow for thirteen districts that lie on the path of the cyclone including Chennai and its suburbs. Today is a holiday for the whole state. Heavy rain is expected to lash at least five north interior districts tomorrow and moderate rain in other places. The chief of the India Meteorology Department in Chennai, Dr Balachandran told reporters, the cyclone will start weakening six hours after its landfall and its impact will be felt in the region until 15 hours after its landfall.

The officials have asked the public to remain indoors during the landfall of the cyclone. All the district administrations in the vicinity of the cyclone have said, sufficient number of relief centres and shelters have been arranged with enough space to follow social distancing norms. To help the district officials, the National Disaster Response Force NDRF has deployed 19 teams in different places including in Cuddalore and Chennai. The Defence Forces have also kept their assets and teams prepared to join hands with the state governments in rescue and relief operations.

Public transport in the vulnerable districts have been suspended. In Chennai, the arterial Kamarajar Road close to the Marina Beach has been closed in view of the cyclone, as the sea remains rough. The Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi Palaniswamy reviewed the Chembarambakkam Lake near Chennai from where the surplus water is being let off into the River Adyar, that traverses through Chennai. He told reporters, the river has the capacity to carry much more than the present quantum of the water flowing in the river, and therefore there is no need to panic. Each of the 200 wards of Chennai Corporation has arranged temporary camps for the possible evacuees.

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