Cyclone Nivar intensified into a severe cyclonic storm as it made the landfall near Puducherry coast in the wee hours of Thursday. According to the Indian Meteorological Department update at around 3.30 am, the centre of the cyclone took three hours to cross the coast at a speed of 16 km per hour.
“It would continue to move north-westwards and weaken further into a cyclonic storm in the next six hours, the IMD added. Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and 17 mandals in Chittoor district Andhra Pradesh still remained in the clutches of the cyclonic storm.
Apart from 50 state disaster response teams, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has pre-positioned 19 teams in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, while over 465 ambulances were kept ready in the state. With the landfall area likely to be around Puducherry. A total of 200 relief camps have been established in the whole of Puducherry region with basic amenities, including food.
Thousands evacuated to safer places in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry; Gradual release of water begins from Chembarambakkam reservoir; heavy to very heavy rainfall expected to continue post-landfall also in several areas. The Chennai International Airport also suspended its operation for 12 hours – from 7 pm on Wednesday to 7 am on Thursday, while Southern Railway cancelled close to 30 trains.
Tamil Nadu government extended the public holiday to Thursday in 16 districts as it kept ready equipment and personnel to clear the roads as the cyclone is expected to uproot trees. The extent of the damage caused by the cyclone is yet to be known.