Thiruvananthapuram: The spell of heavy rainfall in Kerala is likely to continue for a few more days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) informed on Thursday.
It has sounded an orange alert for two districts - Kannur and Kasaragod - and yellow alert for six districts - Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Palakkad, Malappuram, Kozhikode and Wayanad.
The central districts too have seen a spell of heavy rainfall these past days. The heavy rainfall has disrupted normal life in several places.
The Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) has predicted widespread rain in the state with chances of isolated thunder, lightning and strong winds due to the cyclonic circulation in and around Kerala as well as a low-pressure trough from north Kerala to Vidarbha region.
The weatherman has said that squally weather with speed reaching 40-50 kmph gusting to 60 kmph is likely to prevail over Gulf of Mannar, Comorin area, along and off south Tamil Nadu coast and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal and adjoining Southeast Arabian Sea, Andaman sea and adjoining southeast and East-central Bay of Bengal.
The national weather agency has also advised fisherfolks to not venture into the sea.
Considering the heavy rains even as the onset of Southwest monsoon is expected only by the end of this month, the state government had called a meeting of the district collectors and issued directions to deal with any eventualities.
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has already deployed five teams to Kerala.
The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) has asked people to stay away from rivers and other water bodies until the rains subside.
The SDMA have also asked people not to travel to hilly regions unless it's an emergency and to avoid night travel until the rain subsides.
The district administrations have also warned the people staying near coastal areas of high tide.
A red alert indicates heavy to extremely heavy rains of over 20 cm in 24 hours, while orange alert means very heavy rains from 6 cm to 20 cm of rain. A yellow alert means heavy rainfall between 6 to 11 cm.
Be ready for monsoon, urges Kerala CM
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan issued a slew of directions to ensure the State was prepared to handle monsoon-related problems like landslides and flooding.
Chief Minister instructed local bodies to prepare a list of disaster-prone areas in their jurisdictions and provide it to village officers, police, fire services and disaster management authorities in each district.
Besides, the other instructions included setting up relief camps for evacuating people from high-risk areas, widely publicising the location and access paths to the camps, ensuring adequate facilities like food, water and sanitation there and completing all the preparation on a warfooting.
He directed monsoon-preparation meetings in all districts, measures for mitigating potential disasters during the rainy season be planned in advance and coordination between the various departments be ensured.
Vijayan further directed that monsoon control rooms be set up in all local bodies 24 hours a day and the phone numbers of the control rooms should be accessible to the public.
He directed that pre-monsoon clean-up operations be completed by the local bodies with public participation from May 22 to May 29.
The gutters should be desilted and the silt should not be deposited alongside them, he said and further directed steps be taken to ensure free flow of all the rivers.
The IMD had earlier predicted that the southwest monsoon, which is also known as Edavapathy in the State, is likely to bring its first showers to Kerala by May 27, five days earlier than the normal onset date.