Tropical cyclone Burevi is expected to sweep through Kerala on December 4 but with reduced intensity.
Instead of through the southern fringe of Thiruvananthapuram district as expected earlier, the cyclonic storm is now predicted to enter Kerala slightly north along the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam boundary.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, while briefing the media on Thursday, said that it would be a relatively weakened formation that would be whooshing over Kerala. The maximum speed would be less than 60 km/hr. By then, the Chief Minister said the formation would have transformed from a "cyclonic storm" to a "deep depression".
Yet, the government has stepped up preventive measures. Already, 177 people from labour camps within Ponmudi, which lies along the Thiruvananthapuram-Kollam border, have been relocated. At least 500 people from the settlements would be shifted to relief camps in Thiruvananthapuram district by night, top sources said.
Labourers are being shifted from plantation settlements or 'layams' to prevent a repeat of Rajamalai in Munnar, where 49 people living in settlements were washed away by a ferocious landslide on August 9 this year.
The Chief Minister said it was typical of Burevi to induce heavy rainfall in areas lying north to its path. So he said extreme rainfall was expected in Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Alappuzha. A red alert has been declared in all these districts.
He also said winds moving at the speed of 50-60 km/hr would sweep through the southern Kerala districts up to Ernakulam. He said a major flood-like situation was not expected, though he did not rule out waterlogging in low-lying areas and mudslip or landslides in high ranges.
According to the latest IMD bulletin, the storm had neared Pamban, an island in Rameshwaram taluk that lies between Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu. It will then move west-southwestwards and cross South Tamil Nadu coast through Thoothukkudy, between Pamban and Kanyakumari, either on December 3 midnight or during the wee hours of December 4. Over Tamil Nadu, the wind speed would be between 70-80 km/hr.
The Chief Minister said that 2891 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.