'Maha' likely to intensify into severe cyclonic storm

A fisherman collects fish from a net in the waters of Vembanad Lake during heavy rains caused by Cyclone Maha in Kochi on October 31, 2019. (REUTERS)

Cyclonic storm 'Maha' in the Arabian Sea was likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm on Thursday, the regional weather office here said.

Under its influence, Lakshadweep was likely to receive extremely heavy rainfall, even as the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued "red message" for the island.

"Maha cyclone lay centred in Arabian Sea over Lakshadweep, about 40km north-northeast of Amini Divi," S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, said.

It is likely to intensify into a severe cyclonic storm late Thursday afternoon, he told reporters here.

It will further move north-northwestwards across Lakshadweep and emerge into the east-central Arabian Sea.

After that, it is "very likely" to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm, the IMD said.

Meanwhile, IMD issued a "red message" for Lakshadweep, in the wake of the forecast of extremely heavy rainfall.

The "red message" technically refers to "take action," meaning the state government machinery has to remain on standby.

Balachandran further said Tamil Nadu and Puducherry received widespread rains in the last 24 hours ended 8.40 am, with Kodanadu in the Nilgiris district recording the highest rainfall of 14 cm, followed by Coonoor (13 cm) in the same district.

About 33 places in the state and the UT received heavy rains while there were very heavy rains in four locations.

In the next 24 hours, heavy rains were likely in most districts of Tamil Nadu, including those along the western ghats, he said.

He advised fishermen from venturing into the sea along Lakshadweep on Thursday and Friday.

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