As ‘very severe’ cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall near Puducherry in the early hours of Thursday, the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) issued an alert of severe thunderstorm with heavy rain in Thiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Kallakurichy and Villupuram in the next three hours. It also said that moderate rainfall with moderate thunderstorm is likely in 19 districts, including Chengalpattu.
Meanwhile, heavy downpour triggered by very severe cyclonic storm Nivar lashed Puducherry and its suburbs, uprooting trees, damaging electric poles and leaving several areas inundated. No casualties were reported so far from any part of the union territory. Chief Minister V Narayanasamy, who visited the rain ravaged areas in and around this town on Thursday told reporters that Puducherry recorded 23 cm rainfall. He said there was no deaths reported due to the cyclone. Most housing colonies were water-logged and residents remained indoors.
The CM said the territorial government had initiated steps to restore power supply without loss of time. Relief camps were opened at various points accommodating 2,000 people so far. Supply of food and other essentials was ensured in the camps, he added.
In a WhatsApp message, Lt Governor Kiran Bedi said Fire and rescue services personnel were deployed to remove fallen trees at various points. A woman and her child who were marooned in the flood in Rainbow Nagar housing area close to the boulevard were rescued by the police, District Magistrate Purva Garg told.
Nivar weakened into a severe cyclonic storm after it crossed coast near Puducherry, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said. There were no reports of loss of life due to the cyclone. Incidents of wall collapse were reported from some parts of Tamil Nadu, state Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said. Earlier, the IMD had said Nivar will cross coast near Puducherry with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph, gusting up to 145 kmph. The landfall of Nivar began late on Wednesday night.
“Very severe cyclonic Storm NIVAR: Center lies over Land. Crossed coast near Puducherry during 2330 of 25th Nov-0230 IST of 26th Nov,” the IMD said in a tweet. “Very severe cyclonic Storm NIVAR: weakens into a Severe Cyclonic storm,” it said in another tweet.
Deputy Director General of Meteorology, Chennai, S Balachandran said rainfall is likely to continue in Tamil Nadu. “The storm now lies inside the land area. There will, however, be rainfall and strong winds as well,” he told PTI.
In the next six hours, the severe cyclonic storm will further weaken, he said. Udhayakumar said there were no reports of loss of life or crop damage.
“There is no loss of lives due to the rains. People have given us full cooperation,” he said. Incidents of wall collapse were reported from a few places, he said.
“It’s a solace that nothing untoward happened and the weakening of the cyclone is good news,” he said. The minister said about 2.5 lakh people were housed in cyclone shelters in Tamil Nadu as part of safety measures.
According to the inputs received so far, crops and groves are safe in the state, Udhayakumar told reporters. However, the situation would be reviewed and based on its outcome, insurance payout and compensation to farmers, if any, would be announced by Chief Minister K Palaniswami, he said.
Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu recorded the highest rainfall at 24.6 cm, followed by 23.7 cm in Puducherry from 8.30 PM on Wednesday till 2.30 am on Thursday. Nagapattinam recorded 6.3 cm rainfall, Karaikal 8.6 cm and Chennai 8.9 cm during the same period.
Meanwhile, revenue, civic and police authorities were on their toes coordinating and removing uprooted trees using heavy-duty motor equipment and backhoe loaders. According to initial estimates, over 150 trees were uprooted in Tamil Nadu alone.
As the storm began crossing coast, the rainfall stopped briefly here. It returned with strong winds in some localities close to the city and the suburban shoreline. The approach roads to the Marina beach, off the arterial Kamaraj Salai, were flooded and sheets of water reached close to the main road where the city’s fishermen had securely tied up their boats.
As rains lashed Mamallapuram near here, troops of monkeys sought refuge under the decorative, cave-like arches, dotted with images of deities carved in stone at the ancient Sri Sthalasayana Perumal temple.
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