Chennai: The depression over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a deep depression on Monday, with the weather system likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours and into a severe cyclonic storm during the subsequent 24 hours, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, besides the union territory of Puducherry, braced for rains, even as the NDRF earmarked 30 teams to launch rescue and relief operations in the states concerned in view of the cyclone 'Nivar.'
According to the latest bulletin from the IMD, the depression over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a deep depression and lay centred at 5.30 pm on Monday over southwest Bay of Bengal,about 450 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 480 km southeast of Chennai.
"It is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm during the next 12 hours and into a severe cyclone storm during the subsequent 24 hours."
"It is very likely to move northwestwards and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry on November 25 evening as a severe cyclonic storm with a speed of 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph," the IMD said.
The governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry prepared to face the impact of the weather system, as rains were forecast in the respective states and Union Territory between November 24 and 26.
Following the issuance of the yellow message, the Tamil Nadu government reviewed the situation, asking the respective district administrations to be on guard in the wake of the alert.
Under its influence, widespread rainfall/thunderstorm were "very likely" over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karaikal during November 24 to 26, the IMD warned.
Isolated extremely heavy rainfall was very likely over Pudukottai, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore, Ariyalur, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tiruvannamalai and Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu, and Karaikal and Puducherry in the neighbouring UT between Wednesday and Thursday.
A high alert has been sounded in Nagapattinam and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea till November 26.
Tidal waves of about one metre height above the astronomical tide is very likely to inundate the low lying areas of north coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry near the place of landfall.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami held a review meeting and asked his cabinet colleagues and officials to remain fully alert and take appropriate precautionary measures.
At the "NIVAR Cyclone" review meeting, a number of directions were issued, he later said in a statement.
Among others, he announced suspension of inter and intra-district bus services in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Villupuram, Chengalpattu and Pudukottai districts from 1pm on Tuesday till further orders and urged people to avoid travel by their own vehicles, except for essential requirements.
He directed the state machinery to be on standby from Monday, with adequate machinery and equipment to meet any eventuality.
In Puducherry, the administration has drawn up a multi- pronged plan to face the cyclone, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said.
With Puducherry and Karaikal regions set to receive rains, the government was working on setting up 80 relief centres, control rooms in all the departments and rehabilitation of people in low-lying areas.
The chief minister said fishermen have been asked not to set out to the sea.
All shops and other establishments have been asked to close business on Tuesday evening, he added.
In Andhra Pradesh, frontline departments were getting into a high alert mode as widespread rains were forecast in many districts in coastal and Rayalaseema regions in the next three days under the influence of cyclonic storm Nivar.
State Disaster Management Commissioner K Kanna Babu said the sea would be turbulent and fishermen should not venture in for three days.
Winds with speed ranging from 45 to 65 kmph are expected along the Bay of Bengal coast.
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has earmarked 30 teams to launch rescue and relief operations for the two states and the union territory, in view of the cyclone 'Nivar'.
A senior NDRF officer said in New Delhi that while 12 teams have been pre-deployed, 18 are on standby in these states and Puducherry.
A NDRF team has about 35 to 45 personnel, depending on the task at hand and are equipped with tree and pole cutters, basic medicines and other tools to help affected people.
The National Crisis Management Committee, headed by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, met at the national capital and reviewed various measures in view of the cyclone.
It also directed various stakeholders, including state governments concerned, to continue to work with an aim of zero loss of life and early restoration of normalcy in affected areas.