Cyclone Ockhi: Depression intensifies, heavy rain lashes TN, Kerala

Cyclone Ockhi: Depression intensifies, heavy rain lashes TN, Kerala

As a deep depression over the Kanyakumari region intensified on Thursday into a cyclonic storm, Ockhi, heavy rain and high winds hit the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said Ockhi is very likely to move west-northwestward, toward Lakshadweep, and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm during the next 24 hours.

The IMD has predicted heavy to very heavy rain in Lakshadweep and the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala till Friday.

The Met Centre in Thiruvananthapuram said thunderstorm accompanied with gusty winds is likely to affect Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Idukki, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad districts.

Parts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Idukki districts reported heavy rainfall since late on Wednesday.

In Kulathupuzha in Kollam district, an autorickshaw driver was killed after an uprooted tree fell on his vehicle. Many trees were uprooted due to strong winds in the outskirts of Thiruvananthapuram district.

Thiruvananthapuram city and the suburbs experienced mild showers through the day. The power supply was disrupted in many areas on the city's outskirts. The district administration suspended classes schools and colleges in the afternoon.

A landslip was reported in Amboori in Thiruvananthapuram. Shutters of the Neyyar Dam were opened on Thursday and a general alert was sounded in the surrounding regions.  

At least three trains connecting Thiruvananthapuram/Kollam and Nagercoil/Kanyakumari were cancelled and others rescheduled.The inclement weather hit road traffic in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram.

In Nedumkandam in Idukki, a building in a school campus was partially destroyed, while damages to homes were also reported in the district.

Meanwhile, the Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA) advised pilgrims  of the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala to avoid the uphill trek between 6 pm and 7 am. The advisory highlighted the dangers of using the forest route to the temple.

The pilgrims have also been advised to avoid bathing in rivers. Restrictions are also in place on tourist movement in hilly and coastal regions. The KSDMA alert will remain in force till December 2.

State police chief Loknath Behera is coordinating contingency measures with district police chiefs and units, including the coastal police.

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