Chennai: The very severe cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall between Puducherry and Marakkanam in Tamil Nadu late on Wednesday accompanied by torrential rains.
The severe cyclonic storm Nivar over southwest Bay of Bengal moved west northwards, intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and now lies about 50 km east-southeast of Cuddalore, about 40 km east southeast of Puducherry, the India Meteorological Department said.
The landfall process commenced Wednesday night. The centre of cyclone is set to cross the Puducherry coast within next 3 hours, the met department tweeted.
Heavy downpour along with 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.
The Tamil Nadu government said people may contact the emergency call centres at 044-28888105 and 7338895011.
In Puducherry, the control rooms with phone numbers 1070 and 1077 were in place in addition to emergency response teams.
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.
Chennai airport shut, trains diverted
Chennai airport authorities said Aircraft operations at the airport will remain suspended from 7pm of November 25 till 7am of November 26.
The decision was taken considering the safety aspect of passengers and the severity of the approaching cyclone, they said.
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, said operations would end by 8 pm and services would resume tomorrow depending on the weather.
Electricity distribution stopped
As a precautionary measure, electricity distribution was stopped to consumers in several regions falling under such districts and especially areas that have overhead power transmission lines witnessed power cut since noon.
Civic authorities meanwhile removed banners and hoardings in several districts including Chennai and Vellore expecting squally winds.
Police personnel placed barricades in arterial roads and important intersections in coastal districts to bar movement of vehicles and the government appealed to the people to stay indoors.
Over 1 lakh evacuated, public holiday in 13 TN districts
With rains drenching 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.
While Chief Minister K Palaniswami declared Thursday a public holiday for 13 districts, a government order included three more districts considering the safety of people in view of the cyclone.
Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said 1,03,291 people including children have been housed in 1,000 relief centres. Food, water and all other essentials including masks to help prevent coronavirus have been made available to them in the relief centres, he said.
A senior official said subsequently, the number has increased to 1,21,152.
According to the government, these people have been housed in shelters at Ariyalur, Chengelpet, Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Ranipet, Thanjavur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, and Villupuram districts.
Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Chengelpet, Tiruvallur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tirupattur, Vellore, Ranipet, Nagapattinam are the districts where the holiday is applicable tomorrow and Wednesday has already been declared a holiday.
Water released from key Chennai reservoir
Surplus water was released from Chembarambakkam lake, one of the key drinking water sources to the city, since it almost neared its full level, the government said.
PWD officials said 1000 cusecs was released from the lake as the level stood at 22 feet of the total 24 feet.
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.
Kalpakkam nuclear power complex on high alert
The cyclone protection machinery at the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) in Kalpakkam, about 20 kms from Mamallapuram, has been 'activated' and the authorities were on high alert and closely monitoring the weather to take necessary actions when required, a top official said.
"All the plant systems are operating normal and expected to successfully withstand the impact of cyclone Nivar, when it crosses the coast," Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR) Station Director M Srinivas said in a release.
(With agency inputs)