Cyclone Nivar: Severe cyclonic storm makes landfall 40 km east southeast of Puducherry
Chennai, Nov 25: Torrential rains accompanied by gusty winds lashed several parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Wednesday, inundating many localities while over one lakh people were moved to shelters as 'Nivar' intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and is closing in on the coast.
The landfall process of very severe cyclonic storm 'Nivar' has commenced and it would cross the coast soon near Puducherry, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Wednesday. In its latest bulletin issued at 11.30 pm, the IMD said the landfall process of Nivar has started and the "Centre of cyclone to cross coast near Puducherry within next 3 hours with wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph."
The wall cloud bands in the forward sector are entering into land and the weather system is interacting with the land surface, it said. On its Twitter handle, the IMD said, "Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar now lies about 50 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, about 40 km east southeast of Puducherry. Landfall process commence.
Centre of cyclone to cross coast near Puducherry within next 3 hours." In another tweet, the department said the landfall process continued. Authorities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have taken a slew of measures to handle the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm, which has led to heavy rainfall in several regions.
With rains under the influence of the cyclone drenching the city and several other parts of the state, authorities have evacuated over one lakh people and housed them in shelters besides disconnecting power supply in vulnerable areas as a precautionary measure. Chennai, Chengelpet, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore districts and Puducherry received heavy rains. Chennai recorded the maximum of 16 cm on Wednesday, while Puducherry received ten cms, the IMD said.
Thursday was declared a public holiday for 16 districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry and Karaikal regions by the governments in the state and the union territory respectively and people were asked to stay indoors till the storm crossed. ;
The gates of Chembarambakkam reservoir near here were opened for the first time in five years as a precautionary measure, releasing a torrent of surplus water into the Adyar river here after its storage was just 20 per cent short of its capacity due to heavy rains ahead of the incoming cyclone.
As the surplus waters gushed forth with the opening of shutters, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami inspected the dam premises and reviewed the precautionary measures and the outflow. PWD officials said 1,000 cusecs was released from the lake initially as the water level stood at 22 feet against the maximum total 24 feet while the storage reached 80 per cent of its capacity.
By 8 pm, the water release was gradually increased to 5,000 cusecs, they said. Delayed opening of the reservoir in 2015 after very heavy rains was seen as a trigger for the devastating floods that hit the city then, though the government had rejected it.
Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar and officials said over 1.21 lakh people, including children, have been housed in 1,000 relief centres in various districts, including Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Villupuram districts. Food, water and all other essentials including masks to help prevent coronavirus have been made available to them in the relief centres, he said. As a precautionary measure, electricity distribution was stopped in several regions and especially in areas that have overhead power transmission lines.
Civic authorities meanwhile removed banners and hoardings in several districts including Chennai and Vellore expecting squally winds. Chennai airport authorities said flight operations will remain suspended from 7 pm on Wednesday till 7 am on Thursday considering the safety aspect of passengers and the severity of the approaching cyclone.
Southern Railway said eight trains, including the Danapur - KSR Bengaluru Special, were diverted skipping Chennai and 10 trains including the Chennai Central-Coimbatore Special were cancelled. The Chennai Metro Rail, which operated minimum services, ended it at 8 pm and usual operations would resume tomorrow depending on the weather. Under the influence of the cyclone, coastal and north interior Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal regions are likely to receive rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places, the IMD said.
South coastal Andhra Pradesh is also likely to witness showers at most places today. Rainfall is expected to continue in many places in these regions on Thursday too with heavy rainfall at some places. Chennai and its suburbs, which received heavy overnight rains, continued to witness intermittent showers coupled with strong winds with low-lying areas getting inundated and water entering houses in such localities.
The government said it has nominated IAS official V Arun Roy to oversee relief activities in Chengelpet district. Civic body officials said stagnant water was pumped out by deploying heavy duty motors and fallen trees were being removed immediately. In Puducherry, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy visited some coastal villages to monitor steps taken to ensure the safety of fishermen community as the government said the administrative machinery is fully geared to meet any exigency.
Prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC have been clamped in Puducherry region from Tuesday night till 6 AM on Thursday to restrict movement of people. Parts of the UT have been experiencing intermittent moderate rains since Tuesday night under the influence of the cyclonic storm. People living in low lying areas or residing close to the sea shore were being evacuated to safer places or to 200 relief camps set up in Puducherry region with basic amenities, including food.