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Cyclone Nilam Live: Southern Railways diverts, cancels trains

by FP Staff  Oct 31, 2012 18:50 IST

#Andhra Pradesh   #Cyclone Nilam   #NewsTracker   #Tamil Nadu  

8.00 pm:  Southern Railways diverts, cancels trains

Southern Railways announced diversion and partial cancellation of trains, especially those passing through coastal districts.

Trains were also being operated on low speed to ensure safety, officials said.

In Chennai, about 100 trees were uprooted due to the gusty winds. Traffic movement was slow as motorists, including those driving four-wheelers faced difficulty due to strong winds.

The incessant rain damaged crops in Cauvery delta region, farmers said.

6.50:  Heavy rainfall in Chennai post Cyclone Nilam landfall

After Cyclone Nilam made landfall in Mahabalipuram, Chennai has been experiencing heavy rainfall.

Uprooted trees and torrential rain has hampered smooth flow of traffic and the city has been experiencing several traffic jams. The public transport system has also been affected because of the heavy rains.

5.37: Nilam makes landfall at Mahabalipuram near Chennai

Cyclone Nilam made landfall in Mahabalipuram in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, around 35 kms south of Chennai. It has intensified into a storm. Reports indicate that over 3500 people have been evacuated from the area.

Mahabalipuram is a tourist spot and most hotels in the area have been closed.

The Met Department has warned of extremely heavy rainfall.

The Emergency numbers in Chennai are 26412646, 28170738, 24838968, 24867725,22342355, 24425961, 22420600, 2450092.

The government has put up shelters and moved people from low lying areas into them.

Meanwhile reports indicated that a ship, named the Prathiba Cauvery, has been grounded at the Besant Nagar beach in Chennai because of the cyclone.

The Number of  buses in Chennai have also been reduced because only a few people are using them.

5.09 pm: Chennai Mass Rapid Transport System  stopped

As Cyclone Nilam gets closer to the Tamil Nadu, the Mass Rapid Transport System, a metropolitan elevated railway line in Chennai, has been stopped coast because strong winds may problems with the overhead wires.

4.35 pm: Jayalalithaa reviews cyclone situation

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday reviewed the cyclone situation with her cabinet colleagues and senior officials and directed them to ensure all essential commodities are made available.

She directed that a holiday be declared for all educational institutions in the coastal districts tomorrow and asked officials to take up relief measures, including providing affected persons food and shelter, besides evacuating citizens from low-lying areas.

The Chief Minister directed officials to take quick steps to remove trees that could fall on roads during the cyclone, a state government press release here said.

She also directed that they ensure proper availability of essential items like milk and drinking water.

Meanwhile, trees have fallen all across the city blocking roads and causing traffic jams.

A lot of people have gathered near the Marina Beach but the police have asked them to move away from there.

Here is a photo of the crowd waiting at a bus stop near Marina that Headlines Today reporter Shabbir Ahmed on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/Ahmedshabbir20/status/263592595186388993

4.10 pm: Chennai offices shut as cyclone Nilam approaches

With cyclone Nilam 140 kms away from the Tamil Nadu coast, many private companies across Chennai have sent all the their employees home.

The entire cyclone with a width of 25 to 30 kms is expected to hit the south of Chennai and north of Puducherry, somewhere close to Mahabalipuram, between 5.30 pm and 11.30 pm, said YEA Raj, deputy director general of meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai.

Beaches in Chennai city have been closed. Marina beach is off limits for the public, with sea water breaching the entire 6km stretch of beach and reaching the road parallel to the beach.

Public transport like the Mass Rapid Transport System and buses have been running smoothly. However, flights may be grounded when the cyclone is passing through the city. Chennai Traffic Police have asked motorists to look out for fallen trees. They have been constantly updating their Facebook page with information about roads that have been blocked by fallen trees. Find out more here.

3.28 pm: Kalpakkam N-plant on alert as cyclone Nilam approaches

With cyclone Nilam intensifying into a severe storm, Madras Atomic Power Station at coastal Kalpakkam on Wednesday said the situation was being "closely watched" and asserted the plant is designed to withstand a wind velocity of 160 kmph.

Presently, both the reactors at MAPS were operating "safely", its director K Ramamurthy said in a statement.

The Met office has forecast gusty winds with a maximum surface wind speed of 45 kmph to 110 kmph.

"Kalpakkam being a coastal site (about 55 km from Chennai), all the structures and equipment were designed to withstand even the wind velocity of 160 km per hour," he said.

Ramamurthy said all agencies have been instructed to be on standby alert. Additional personnel have been deployed to keep vigil on "important systems" and "the situation is being watched closely for any developments and to take immediate appropriate action," he said.

2.40 pm: People in Chennai advised to stay indoors

Chennai corporation commissioner D Karthikeyan said that it is advisable for people to stay indoors, reported CNN-IBN.

He said that cooking centres have been set up for people living in low lying areas.

"A few areas in North Chennai have water stagnation. Relief centres have been set up for people in low lying areas. National disaster response force from Arakkonam will reach Chennai soon. They will be split into three groups and will be deployed in different areas in Chennai. Catamarans have been arranged," he said.

"Cyclone Nilam is around 270 KM south east from Chennai and is expected to move in the northwestern direction cross the coast between Puducherry and Nellore during evening. Strong winds can cause power and communication lines" said Ramanan, deputy director, Met Department.

2.20 pm: Chennai beaches closed, motorists asked to be careful

Beaches in Chennai city have been closed as cyclone Nilam is expected to pass through the city at around 5.30 pm.

Marina beach is off limits for the public, with sea water breaching the entire 6km stretch of beach and reaching the road parallel to the beach.

Public transport like the Mass Rapid Transport System and buses have been running smoothly. However, flights may be grounded when the cyclone is passing through the city. Chennai Traffic Police have asked motorists to look out for fallen trees. They have been constantly updating their Facebook page with information about roads that have been blocked by fallen trees. Find out more here.

Here is a photo of a Chennai street sent to us by Sandesh Jain via Twitter

https://twitter.com/ImSandeshJain/status/263560059764756480

1.50 pm:  Nilam displaces 4,000 in SL, heading towards India

At least 4,000 people are in displacement camps after being affected by floods in Sri Lanka linked to a tropical cyclone which is heading for southern India, the BBC reported.

But the worst of the storm failed to hit Sri Lankan territory directly.

1.12 pm: Nilam draws closer

After being stationary for a long time over Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Nilam is now moving towards landfall and is expected to cross between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coasts Wednesday evening, said a senior weather department official.

"The system (cyclone) is moving at around 10-12 kmph and is expected to cross the coast between Chennai and Cuddalore (in Tamil Nadu) or between Cuddalore and Nellore (Andhra Pradesh)," YEA Raj, deputy director general, Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), told IANS.

He said the cyclone was stationary for a long time, but is now moving and is around 320 km off the Chennai coast.

According to Raj, the wind speed at the time of landfall will be around 80 kmph and gusting at 100 kmph.

Stating there is nothing unique about Nilam, Raj said there will be three or four cyclones over Bay of Bengal and these would go towards Myanmmar, West Bengal or Bangladesh.

Raj said Nilam has come under the Doppler radar of the IMD and it is being tracked well.

Queried about Cyclone Thane that ripped through Cuddalore and Puducherry last December and killed around 46 in both the regions, Raj said that Thane was very severe.

Nilam is not severe like Cyclone Thane, he added.

According to him, Nilam will bring in heavy showers over coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

The sea will be rough along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 36 hour, as per weather bulletin issued by the IMD.

Storm surge of about 1 to 1.5 metre over the astronomical tide is likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu and the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.

This Satellite image of Nilam shows it drenching Sri Lanka as it advances towards South India.

12.03 pm: Heavy rains as TN, AP brace for Nilam

Heavy rains are being reported from across Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh as the two states brace for the arrival of cyclone Nilam.

The storm is expected to make a landfall this evening between Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh, bringing in heavy rains in the region, with tide levels reaching 1.5 meters.

"The cyclonic storm, which lay about 320 km south-south east of Chennai at 0530 hrs today, will move North-North westwards and cross North Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh between Cuddalore and Nellore near Chennai by 31 October evening", a weather bulletin by the Met department said.

The cyclone is now around 340 km south-southeast of Chennai and is moving, an official told IANS.

An auto drives through the rain water on Marina Beach in Chennai. Firstpost

Rainfall is expected at most places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

Wind speeds are likely to reach around 80 kmph along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts as Nilam nears its landfall.

Sea conditions will be rough along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 36 hours. Fishermen have been asked not to go out to sea.

Officials say that storm surges of about 1 to 1.5 metre over the astronomical tide are likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu as well as Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh.

Standing crops - paddy, groundnut and maize - in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be damaged, said a weather bulletin.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts.

With inputs from Agencies

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