Cyclone Gaja to make landfall early Friday

Playing hide and seek, cyclone Gaja intensified into a severe cyclonic storm and is likely to make landfall in the early hours of Friday to the south of Nagapattinam.

As part of the precautionary measure, more than 55,000 people living in low-lying areas in six districts in Tamil Nadu were evacuated and lodged in government-run relief camps.

Several areas in six districts — Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Pudukkottai — are experiencing heavy to very heavy rainfall since Thursday evening even as the power supply was discontinued.

The state government also suspended transport services in six districts that are likely to be affected due to the cyclone from 6 pm on Thursday to 6 am on Friday.

The cyclone delayed its landfall — the IMD had predicted that the landfall would happen between 8 pm and 11 pm on Thursday evening — and even changed its direction more than once on Thursday.

The IMD kept issuing bulletins through the day correcting the direction and time of the landfall every now and then.

In its latest update issued a little after 9 pm, the IMD said the cyclone would cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore to the south of Nagapattinam in the early hours of Friday.

“Outer band of the system has already entered coast and rainfall has commenced over coastal areas of Tamil Nadu,” the IMD said, adding that it will make land as a severe cyclonic storm packing winds 110 kmph.

 


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The state government put the entire administration on high alert since Thursday morning and moved more than 55,000 people to relief camps by Thursday evening. More than 44,000 people living in low lying areas and in the vicinity of the sea in Nagapattinam district were brought to safety and accommodated at cyclone relief centres.

Over 30,000 personnel including first respondents were pressed into service by the government as part of its preparedness and local administration in the six districts declared a holiday for schools and colleges on Friday as well.

It also kept ready 405 ambulance vehicles in six districts to handle any eventuality even as the government appealed to the people not to come anywhere near the seashore.

The government used social media to alert people about the cyclone and asked them not to panic and not to believe rumours about the cyclone. The government issued periodic bulletins and ministers hailing from the six districts were on the ground as Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami monitored the preparations.

Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have reached Cuddalore and Nagapattinam district to assist state officials in case of any eventuality after the Cyclone.

The Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) said it has kept its personnel ready to restore power lines if they come under attack due to the cyclone, while the district administrations have kept tree cutters and other equipment ready to clear the blockage of roads if any.

The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Response Force also people using smartphones to download TNSMART Mobile App, conceptualized by Satyagopal, for receiving forecast based alerts to “save lives & movable assets.”

Meanwhile, Southern Railways has cancelled train services to Velankanni in Nagapattinam district and the Rameswaram island due to the cyclone. It also diverted many trains passing through Thanjavur and Tiruvarur.

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Cyclone Gaja to make landfall early Friday

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