With the meteorological department issuing a warning of cyclonic storm, schools and colleges in Chennai have decided to remain shut on Tuesday.
The depression off the coast in Bay of Bengal intensified on Monday. Heavy rainfall is expected in Tamil Nadu. Weathermen say the cyclonic storm is predicted for Tuesday and it might cross between Nagapattinam and Nellore. However, weather models predict that ‘Cyclone Nilam’ would cross the coast over south Chennai on Wednesday. The met office has declared local cautionary warning 3 for all ports in the state and fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea.
Unlike Cyclone Thane that was more wind-based, Nilam would bring more rain to Tamil Nadu. The deep depression currently follows the route taken by an October 28, 1991 depression starting from central Bay of Bengal westwards into Tamil Nadu. “It will be too premature to narrow down our prediction of the cyclonic storm’s path. At present, we expect the deep depression to turn into a cyclonic storm,” said Dr Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general of Meteorology, Regional Meteorological Centre, Chennai.
He added that the predicted cyclone would not be as intense as Thane. “The vertical wind shear is very high and, so, it will not allow the storm to get intense. Further, it will encounter land mass in Sri Lanka and the system would get scaled down further,” Dr Raj explained the reasons for the lesser intensity.
Area Cyclone Warning Centre director, Dr S.R. Ramanan, said the deep depression lies 500 km southwest of Chennai and 130 km northeast of Trincomalee. “The coastal districts will receive widespread rainfall, while it will be fairly widespread in the interior districts,” he added. He noted that the rainfall intensity would increase from October 30 and there could even be squally winds reaching 65 kmph.
Even global weather websites like www.wunderground.com have predicted tropical cyclone category 2 to hit Chennai on Tuesday. The accuweather.com website predicts 147.6 mm rainfall for Chennai upto Wednesday. For a 24-hour period ended 8.30 am on Monday, Tarangampadi in Nagapattinam received the maximum rainfall of 13 cm in Tamil Nadu, followed by Nannilam (10 cm).
Heavy rains pound Nagapattinam
Storm is expected to cross between Nagapattinam and Nellore, Nagapattinam district administration has geared up to face a possible onslaught.
Nagapattinam district collector T. Munusamy said a monitoring committee comprising heads of all departments convened a meeting on Sunday and launched measures to face the cyclone. “Through the public address system, we alerted villagers in low-lying regions to move to safer places. We have set up 9 cyclone shelters in community halls and schools to accommodate displaced villagers,” collector T. Munusamy said.
The district administration has set up a 24-hour toll-free number 1077 to address cyclone related complaints. Meanwhile, the cyclone warning dome (signal one) was hoisted at Nagapattinam port. Fishermen have been advised to stay off the sea and secure their boats to safe locations.
Meanwhile, heavy rains continued to lash at various places in Nagapattinam district while wind was blowing at 45 km per hour affecting normal life. Electric and generator-based saws have been made available to ensure quick removal of felled trees. Department officials should avail their services.