Cyclone Burevi has weakened into a deep depression over the Gulf of Mannar, 40 kilometres off the coast of Ramanathapuram in Tamil Nadu.
It is expected to sweep over Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi districts and the rest of Tamil Nadu with wind speeds about 50-60 kmph in the next six hours.
The cyclonic storm is predicted to enter Kerala slightly north along the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam boundary, instead of the southern fringe of Thiruvananthapuram district as was expected earlier.
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted that the cyclone will weaken further as it continues its path over land and will have gusts of about 30-40 kmph when it hits Kerala.
Though a red alert too was declared in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts, IMD on Thursday withdrew it. Orange alert in Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts too was withdrawn. A yellow alert has been declared in these districts instead.
he IMD has issued Red alert (heavy to very heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours) for Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts and Orange alert (6 cm to 20 cm rain) for Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki
But heavy rainfall and thunderstorms are likely, especially in the southern districts of Kerala, IMD added. The Kerala government has declared a public holiday in five districts - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha and Idukki - for Friday in view of this.
Several examinations scheduled for December 4 have been cancelled in Kerala.
The Kerala government has taken elaborate measures to mitigate the dangers posed by the cyclone. On Thursday, at least 500 people from labour camps within Ponmudi, which lies along the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam border, were relocated to relief camps in Thiruvananthapuram, top sources said.
In addition, labourers from plantation settlements or 'layams' were also shifted.
The ban on trawling is to continue.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Thursday that 2,891 relief camps had been opened in seven districts: Thiruvananthapuram - 310, Kollam - 358, Pathanamthitta - 585, Alappuzha - 418, Kottayam - 129, Idukki - 350 and Ernakulam - 741.
Further, eight National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have also been deployed; one each in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam and Ernakulam and two in Idukki.
The State Emergency Operation Centre, and district emergency operations centres and taluk control rooms will function 24x7.
While Vijayan has dismissed the chances of a major flood-like situation, he said waterlogging in low-lying areas and mudslip or landslides in high ranges are likely.