Chennai: Coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry are bracing for Cyclone Nivar, which has intensified into a “severe cyclonic storm”, expected to intensify further and is barrelling towards the southeast coast. The powerful cyclone is likely to hit the coast by midnight or early tomorrow, the Met department said. The cyclone could hit the coast between Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu (which is around 56 km from state capital Chennai) and Karaikal in Puducherry. Nivar has brought with it heavy rain and strong winds in coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to assure the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments – both have said today is a public holiday – of all possible support.
As of last night, it was 380 km southeast of Chennai and 320 km southeast of Puducherry. The cyclone will bring extremely heavy rainfall and winds between 120 and 130 km per hour, with gusts of up to 145 km per hour, the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai has advised, adding that coastal areas could receive heavy rain till tomorrow. Around 2,000 people have been evacuated to higher grounds from Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district.
Bus services in seven Tamil Nadu districts have been suspended. The state government has said that those involved in essential services will continue to work. Chief Minister Palaniswami appealed to people to stay indoors as far as possible and said over 4,000 “vulnerable” locations had been identified and local officials have been told to ensure peoples’ safety.
“Spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Shri Edappadi K Palaniswami and Puducherry Chief Minister Shri V Narayanasamy regarding the situation in the wake of Cyclone Nivar. Assured all possible support from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of those living in the affected areas,” the Prime Minister tweeted in English and Tamil.