Cyclone Nilam crosses coast to hit TN, AP

Cyclone Nilam crosses coast to hit TN, AP

1.5-metre tall waves wash shore and disrupt life

Cyclone Nilam crosses coast to hit TN, AP

Tropical cyclone “Nilam” crossed the Tamil Nadu coast near the ancient Pallava port town of Mamallapuram, some 65 km South of Chennai, on Tuesday evening, striking dread into the hearts of people around the Coromandel coast.

In Andhra Pradesh, widespread rains and stormy winds lashed the east coast along Nellore and Prakasam districts on Wednesday. The cyclone crossed the coast near Mahabalipuram in neighbouring Tamilnadu around 6 pm. The Met report said about 1-1.5 metre tide is likely to inundate low-lying areas of coastal districts.

The Met office also advised total suspension of fishing operations and asked for coastal dwellers to move to safer places. In Andhra Pradesh, which was also affected by the cyclone, an alert has been sounded in the south coastal districts of Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam and Krishna and all major ports in the State.

In Chennai, the Coast Guard managed to rescue 20 crew members of an oil tanker that ran aground off Marina beach. An injured crew member later died at a private hospital. The Coast Guard, however, declined to give details.

Rain also caused two deaths in other parts of the state. Nilam started crossing the coast near Mamallapuram, which is close to the Madras Atomic Power Station (MAPS) at Kalpakkam, in Kancheepuram district around 4:30 pm, Dr S R Ramanan, Director of Regional Meteorological Centre, told Deccan Herald on Wednesday evening.

Wind was roaring at over 90 kmph, triggering tall waves of over 1.5 m along the coast.
“Heavy winds are blowing above us, and about 2,000 people from coastal areas have been safely moved to safer places. Things are under control,” said Kancheepuram District SP Manoharan.

Howling winds and thunder-showers uprooted hundreds of trees on Chennai’s roads and snapped overhead wires. Power supply was switched off around 4:30 pm in many parts of north Tamil Nadu as a precautionary measure. After an emergency meeting at the secretariat, Chief Minister J Jayalalitha directed all government staff and employees pf private companies to leave offices by 3 pm. She also ordered schools and colleges in all the coastal districts to close on Thursday.

In Kancheepuram district, 132 special camps were set up for affected people, while the Chennai corporation readied 200 schools for displaced fishermen.

Over 5,000 houses were marooned at Nagapattinam, battered by heavy rains for the past two days, even as low-lying areas of Cuddalore and Pondy are flooded.

At MAPS at Kalpakkam, both units were operating when the cyclone blew over, a senior official told Deccan Herald. Despite stormy waves going up 2.5 metres and wind-speeds touching 110 kmph the structures and equipment are safe. They are designed to withstand wind velocity up to 160 kmph,” the official said. In Andhra Pradesh, an alert has been sounded in the south coastal districts of Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam and Krishna and all major ports in the State. The sea conditions have turned rough with high waves lashing the coast in Nellore. The sea water gushed up to 100 metres from shoreline in some villages.

At Tirupati, the Tirumala temple officials have banned plying of two-wheelers on Ghat Road that is slippery due to heavy rain. Standing paddy crops in Prakasam and Nellore district are under water. Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy reviewed the situation and preparations for rehabilitation and relief activities in the affected districts with top officials in secretariat.