Nilam intensifies into severe cyclonic storm

Nilam intensifies into severe cyclonic storm

Cyclone 'Nilam' today intensified into a severe storm with extremely heavy rainfall expected over North coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry even as the weather department warned of extensive damage to huts, standing crops and power lines.

The cyclone is expected to cross between Puducherry and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh close to Chennai this evening.

"The system would intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm and move north-westwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Puducherry and Nellore close to Chennai by this evening, it said in its latest bulletin.

Gusty winds with a maximum surface wind speed of 45 kmph to 110 kmph is expected, it said.

Extremely heavy rainfall of over 25 cm or more is expected over north Coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 24 hours.

Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and north interior Tamil Nadu in the next 48 hours with gale speeds of 90-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.

The sea condition would be "high to very high" along and off North Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh coast, the Met office said.

Storm surge of about 1-1.5 metre over the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Nellore districts, it said.

The Met office also advised total suspension of fishing operations and for coastal dwellers to move to safer places.

Danger signals ranging from seven to five have been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, and Puducherry ports.

Local cautionary signal number three has been hoisted at Pamban and Thoothukudi ports, it said.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today reviewed the situation with her cabinet colleagues and senior officials and directed them to ensure all essential commodities are made available.

She directed that a holiday be declared for all educational institutions in the coastal districts tomorrow and asked officials to take up relief measures, including providing affected persons food and shelter, besides evacuating citizens from low-lying areas.

The Chief Minister directed officials to take quick steps to remove trees that could fall on roads during the cyclone, a state government press release here said.

She also directed that they ensure proper availability of essential items like milk and drinking water.

A Cuddalore report, quoting District Collector Rajendra Ratnoo said incessant rains in the past 24 hours ending 0830 hrs today had submerged samba crop in thousands of acres in Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil areas.

He said fishermen of coastal villages and those in low lying areas had been moved to higher places.Community shelters and special kitchens had been opened to serve them, he said.

NLC Public Relations Officer Sridhar said no open cast mines had been submerged. Due to overhaul of two units, power generation had been reduced from 2490 MW to 1870 MW, he said.

Another report from Puducherry said the union territory recorded heavy rainfall of 14 cm in the last two days, inundating all low-lying areas.The sea was also rough, it said.

It said local administration minister N G Paneerselvam held an emergency meeting with officials of local bodies and said sufficient funds had been allotted to local bodies and comune panchayats to bale out water.

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