Cyclone Nivar Updates: Southern Railways resumes suburban services in Chennai; IMD issues yellow alert in 7 Karnataka districts

Cyclone Nivar Updates: The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Nivar, which is moving towards northwest direction is excepted to turn into a normal cyclonic storm in the South Interior districts of Karnataka

FP Staff November 26, 2020 18:13:17 IST
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Cyclone Nivar Updates: Southern Railways resumes suburban services in Chennai; IMD issues yellow alert in 7 Karnataka districts

Cyclone Nivar LATEST Updates: The ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Nivar, which is moving towards northwest direction is excepted to turn into a normal cyclonic storm in the South Interior districts of Karnataka, India Meteorological Department (IMD), Bengaluru said on Thursday.

The severe cyclonic storm Nivar weakened into a cyclonic storm over coastal Tamil Nadu and it is set to further weaken into a deep depression, the India Meteorological Department said on Thursday.

Bangalore city and neighbourhood are expected to receive light to moderate spells of rain with intermittent heavy spells of rainfall at a few places during the next 48 hours, informed IMD.

The tropical storm, which originated in Bay of Bengal, forced authorities in the southern states to declare a public holiday till Thursday, close the Chennai airport and metro services.

Amit Shah said that the Centre is closely monitoring the situation in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the wake of cyclone Nivar which made landfall near Puducherry last night.

Operations at Chennai airport had been suspended from 7 pm on Wednesday to 9 am on Thursday owing to adverse weather conditions in Chennai.

Officials at the Chennai International Airport have announced that flight operations will continue to remain suspended till 9 am on Thursday, keeping in mind the safety of the traveller amid the prevailing weather.

The 'very severe cyclonic storm' Nivar has now weakened into a 'severe cyclonic storm', according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The landfall process of very severe cyclonic storm 'Nivar' has commenced and it would cross the coast soon, the Indian Meteorological Department said late Wednesday night.

The IMD, on its twitter handle said, "Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar now lies about 50 km east-southeast ofCuddalore, about 40 km east southeast of Puducherry. Landfall process commence [sic]. Centre of cyclone to cross coast nearpuducherry within next 3 hours."

Authorities in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have taken a slew of measures to handle the situation arising out of the cyclonic storm, which has led to heavy rainfall in several regions.

Over one lakh people have been evacuated from the coastal areas of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in order to "tide over the worst challenge" put up by Cyclone Nivar, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) chief said on Wednesday.

The National Disaster Response Force has earmarked a total of 50 teams ―with 30 being deployed on the ground in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh ― in view of the cyclone moving ahead from the Bay of Bengal towards the coastal areas.

Twenty teams have been kept on standby at Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh), Cuttack (Odisha) and Thrissur (Kerala). SN Pradhan, the director general of the federal disaster response force, said all preparations have been done to "tide over the worst challenge that is put up by the cyclone".

"As per reports last received, the cyclone may make a landfall a little later than earlier predicted and it could be after 2 or 3 am on Thursday or on November 26," Pradhan said in a recorded audio-visual message. The speed is going to be that of a very severe cyclonic storm which is 130-145 kms per hour with gusting winds, he said.

The landfall is expected to take place between Mamallapuram and Karaikal. "As per latest reports, more than one lakh people have been evacuated across Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry about 1,000-2,000 people have been evacuated by the local authorities and the NDRF," he said.

He said there is "perfect coordination" between the state and central authorities which are monitoring the cyclone and the force is prepared with equipment such as \ cutters and boats to help rescue those trapped and ensure resumption of normal life. "A total of 25 NDRF teams are deployed on the likely affected coastal areas of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh after consultation with state authorities.

"Out of these, 15 teams have been deployed in costal districts of Tamil Nadu. Six have been positioned at Cuddalore, three at Viluppuram, two teams each at Chennai and Chengalpattu, while one team each at Mayiladuthurai and Nagapattinam districts," an NDRF spokesperson said. Besides, three teams are deployed at Pondicherry and one team at Karaikal, he said.

Three NDRF teams have been deployed at Nellore district and one team at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, the spokesperson said. Sensing severity of the situation, five additional NDRF teams have also been kept on alert at Vijayawada and two teams at Vishakhapatnam for immediate backup, he said.

"In view of the current COVID-19 scenario, NDRF teams are equipped with appropriate PPE/special kits," he added.

Chennai airport shut

The Chennai international airport has been closed till 7 am on Thursday amid bad weather conditions caused by Cyclone Nivar, the civil aviation ministry said.

Gusty winds and rains lashed parts of Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, leaving several areas inundated. Authorities have housed over one lakh people in shelters as the severe cyclone hurtled towards the coast.

"As a measure of safety and precaution, the Chennai Airport has been temporarily closed from 1900 to 0700 hrs IST due to the bad weather conditions caused by Cyclone Nivar. Due coordination was done with all stakeholders," the ministry said on Twitter.

Naval ships, aircraft and rescue teams have been alerted and are kept on standby.

Nivar would intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and it is likely to cross the coast between Tamil Nadu and Puducherry before dawn on Thursday, the India Meteorological Department said.

With rains drenching parts of the state, authorities have evacuated over one lakh people and housed them in shelters besides disconnecting power supply in vulnerable areas as a precautionary measure.

While Chief Minister K Palaniswami declared Thursday a public holiday for 13 districts, a government order included three more districts considering the safety of people in view of the cyclone.

Revenue minister RB Udhayakumar said 1,03,291 people including children have been housed in 1,000 relief centres. Food, water and all other essentials including masks to help prevent coronavirus have been made available to them in the relief centres, he said.

A senior official said subsequently, the number has increased to 1,21,152.

According to the government, these people have been housed in shelters at Ariyalur, Chengelpet, Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Perambalur, Ranipet, Thanjavur, Tiruvannamalai, Tiruvarur, and Villupuram districts.

As a precautionary measure, electricity distribution was stopped to consumers in several regions falling under such districts and especially areas that have overhead power transmission lines witnessed power cut since noon.

Civic authorities meanwhile removed banners and hoardings in several districts including Chennai and Vellore expecting squally winds.

Police personnel placed barricades in arterial roads and important intersections in coastal districts to bar movement of vehicles and the government appealed to the people to stay indoors.

Southern Railway said eight trains including the Danapur-KSR Bengaluru Special were diverted skipping Chennai and 10 trains including the Chennai Central-Coimbatore Special were cancelled.

Under the influence of the cyclone, coastal and north interior Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kariakal regions are likely to receive rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy showers at a few places and extremely heavy rains at isolated places.

Surplus water was released from Chembarambakkam lake, one of the key drinking water sources to the city, since it almost neared its full level, the government said.

PWD officials said 1,000 cusecs was released from the lake as the level stood at 22 feet of the total 24 feet.

Chennai and its suburbs, which received heavy overnight rains, continued to witness intermittent showers coupled with strong winds with low-lying areas getting inundated and water entering houses in such localities.

The government said it has nominated IAS official V Arun Roy to oversee relief activities in Chengelpet district.

Civic body officials said stagnant water was pumped out by deploying heavy duty motors and fallen trees were being removed immediately.

Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Tiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Chengelpet, Tiruvallur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tirupattur, Vellore, Ranipet, Nagapattinam are the districts where the holiday is applicable tomorrow and Wednesday has already been declared a holiday.

Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said all AAP volunteers should be ready to help wherever needed.

The AAP national convenor said he hopes the Central and state governments are equipped to handle the situation.

"My prayers for the safety of coastal people of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh from cyclone Nivar. Hope state govts and central govt are all equipped to handle this cyclone. All AAP volunteers should be ready to help wherever needed," Kejriwal tweeted.

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