Chennai/New Delhi: Severe cyclonic storm Vardah over the Bay of Bengal will make landfall near Chennai on Monday, the weather office said on Sunday, as the coastal states of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh brace to deal with it.
The system is expected to bring heavy rainfall in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, and southern Andhra Pradesh. "Vardah lay centred at about 440 km east of Chennai and the system is expected to move westwards and cross Chennai by 12 December afternoon," S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, said in Chennai. However, its intensity will get reduced considerably by the time it makes the landfall.
The Met office in Delhi has briefed the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat on the cyclonic storm.
KJ Ramesh, director general of the IMD said, "I have personally spoken to chief secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, while the regional Met offices are in constant touch with the disaster management commissioners of these two states."
Meanwhile, the Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) at Chennai said the storm is expected to bring heavy rainfall in northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, including the capital city. Southern Andhra Pradesh is also expected to receive heavy showers.
Wind speed would be in the order of 40-50 kph, it said.
Isolated heavy to very heavy rain is likely to commence this evening in north coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and southern Andhra Pradesh, the RMC said in its weather warning put on its website. Squally winds and rough to very rough sea conditions are expected along and off Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from tonight, it said.
"Storm surge of about 1 metre above astronomical tide is expected at the time of landfall," the RMC said.
The IMD said it may cause damage to thatched huts and power and communication lines.
The damage may also be caused to paddy crops, banana, papaya trees and orchards in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu; Ongole and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry, the IMD said in its advisory.
It also urged fishermen in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh coasts to keep away from the seas for the next 48 hours.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) said the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams have been deployed in Tamil Nadu on account of the cyclonic storm.
The NDRF teams, each consisting of 38 rescuers, have been deployed in Chennai, Tiruvallore and Kanchipuram, the force said on its official Twitter handle.
The teams have also been deployed at Nellore, Sulurpeta, Parkasham and Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, it tweeted.
The force has also asked people to get information from TV and radio on the cyclone and advised them to keep a stock of dry fruits and keep their mobile phones charged.
Cyclone Nada, which later weakened, had made a landfall near Chennai in the first week of December, bringing much-needed showers in Tamil Nadu. The state has witnessed a below normal Southwest Monsoon as well as Northeast Monsoon, a phenomenon which brings rains in some parts of southern India, especially Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has put the administration of the respective districts on alert even as the Navy assumed a "high degree" of preparedness to involve itself for possible rescue operations.
State Revenue Minister RB Uthayakumar said the district administration of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallore and Villupuram have put in preventive steps to avoid any inconvenience to the public and are prepared to face any eventuality.
The Eastern Naval Command (ENC), for its part, "has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary
"All operational ships have been readied up and kept standby to undertake Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations including evacuation, should the situation demand," a PIB (Defence) release said.
These ships were embarked with additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material that include food, tentage, clothes, medicines and blankets, it said.
Further, 30 diving teams with Gemini boats and four platoons with additional relief material are ready to be pressed into action at short notice, it said.
The ENC is closely monitoring the situation and is in constant communication with the state administration to augment rescue and relief operations, it said.
— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) December 11, 2016
— NDMA India (@ndmaindia) December 11, 2016
Naval aircraft were also "standing by" at the Naval Air stations Rajali and Dega to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded, it added.
In Andhra Pradesh, all emergency measures have been put in place in SPS Nellore district as Vardah is expected to cross the Bay of Bengal coast between Sriharikota and Chennai Monday evening.
Three teams of NDRF personnel have been kept ready in Nellore district as heavy to very heavy rain ranging up to 17 cms is expected. Chittoor and Kadapa districts are also expected to receive very heavy rainfall while Anantapuramu and Prakasam districts will receive moderate rain.
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu reviewed the situation through a teleconference with Collectors of these districts and top officials this evening. He directed them to be alert and undertake necessary rescue and relief efforts in view of the cyclone threat.
Food and other essential commodities should be kept ready in adequate quantities, he said. "Take all steps to prevent loss of lives and to minimise damages to crops and properties," the Chief Minister told the officials.
Four senior IAS officials have been deputed to Nellore, Chittoor, Kadapa and Prakasam districts to oversee rescue and relief operations.
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Updated Date: Dec 12, 2016 11:40:01 IST