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Cyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea; death toll reaches 8


Chennai, Dec 1: A low pressure system over the South Andaman Sea is expected to turn into a depression in the next 48 hours, which may bring more rainfall to Tamil Nadu, as the death toll due to Cyclone Ockhi in Kanyakumari district rose to eight on Friday.

Cyclone Ockhi: Depression alert over south Andaman Sea; death toll reaches 5

The deaths occurred in cyclone-related incidents in the district. Chief Minister K Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of each of the victims, said an official release. "A well marked low pressure is lying over South Andaman Sea and its neighbourhood. It is expected to concentrate into a depression in the next 48 hours," Regional Meteorological Centre Director S Balachandran said.

Balachandran said the system is likely to move towards north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra coast in the next four days. "This is the current situation and we are monitoring the system." In the next 24 hours, more rainfall is expected in most places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Heavy rainfall can be expected in Nilgiris, Coimbatore, Theni and Dindigul, he said.

Fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea along the Kanyakumari coast and Arabian sea, he added. Cyclone Ockhi, which in Bengali means 'eye', today intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and moved to the Arabian Sea.

An IMD bulletin said Ockhi over Southeast Arabian Sea continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph. It lies over Lakshadweep area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea about 90km northeast of Minicoy and 270km south-southeast of Amini Divi. "The system is very likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours," the bulletin said.

Widespread rainfall has been reported in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry with Papanasam (Tirunelveli district) recording 45 cm rain, Balachandran said. Very heavy rainfall occurred in 21 places, he said. The official said the rainfall for the Oct 1-Nov 27 period, which was about 18 per cent less than usual in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, has improved substantially due to the rains brought by the cyclone.

The Coast Guard has deployed two ships - Vaibhav and Aadesh - besides a Dornier aircraft for search and rescue operations in the sea off Kanyakumari. Five Kanyakumari district fishermen have not returned to the shore after they went into sea two days ago, police said.

Tamil Nadu Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management R B Udhaya Kumar, deputed to Kanyakumari to monitor relief work, said steps have been taken to drain the water logged in the areas. He said electricity department personnel were trying to restore the power supply in the district.

More than 500 trees were uprooted in the district as the rains accompanied by gusty winds left a trail of destruction in the district yesterday. Trees in the premises of the famous Padmanabhapuram Palance too were uprooted. A portion of roof-tiles were also damaged, officials said. With rains continuing to hit normal life in south Tamil Nadu, authorities today declared a holiday for schools and colleges in five districts, including Kanyakumari.


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