Cyclone Nivar made landfall between Marakanam and Puducherry in the wee hours of Thursday as a very severe cyclonic storm, but the impact and damage was not as heavy as it was predicted.
At least three people lost their lives in cyclone-related incidents, while over 1,000 trees were uprooted across the state.
Though the winds that packed speeds of 120-130 kmph did not bring much damage to trees, electric poles and houses, heavy to very heavy rainfall that accompanied Cyclone Nivar inundated several areas of Chennai, Puducherry, Chengalpattu, Villupuram, and Cuddalore districts. Relief efforts were on-going.
After crossing the Puducherry coast, Nivar weakened into a severe cyclonic storm, then into a cyclonic storm and further into a deep depression Thursday evening. As the cyclone moved towards interior districts, several areas in Tiruvallur, Vellore, Ranipet, and Tirupathur districts were drenched with rains through Thursday.
Heavy damages were expected due to the IMD forecast and also because the winds packed speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph. People stayed indoors as the memories of Cyclone Gaja that ravaged the Cauvery Delta region in 2018 came back to haunt them. Most people who were staying in relief camps left for their homes after learning that there was no major damage to their roofs.
The governments of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, which took enough precautionary measures, also moved swiftly to remove uprooted trees, and their branches from roads. Most of the trees that fell on the scenic East Coast Road (ECR) had been removed by Thursday noon while water was being pumped out from all low-lying areas in Chennai and Puducherry.
Puducherry and nearby Cuddalore received more than 20 cm rainfall each in the past two days. A visit to the two districts showed the damage was not as predicted by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), though many areas were still underwater.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami visited cyclone-affected areas in Cuddalore, while his Puducherry counterpart V Narayanasamy was also on the streets overseeing the relief and rescue operations. Palaniswami took credit for the less damage saying it was possible only because of the “efforts” put in by his government. Leader of Opposition M K Stalin blamed him for not taking steps to prevent flooding in Chennai.
One person died each in Tiruvallur, Chennai, and Villupuram, while over 100 electric poles were uprooted. Though not many electric poles were damaged, power supply which was snapped in several areas of Chennai and the affected districts were yet to be restored at the time of writing.
“The damages are being firmed up. The precautionary measures that we took have minimised the damage. We are getting reports of damage from districts and we are in the process of firming them up. There may not be significant additions to be made other than what have already been announced. The death toll remains three as of now,” Commissioner of Revenue Administration K Phanindra Reddy told DH.
As the cyclone made its landfall, public transport in seven districts resumed on Thursday afternoon. Sub-urban and train services also resumed.