Chennai: UPDATE: 5.54 pm: The Weather department has said that there is possibility of Cyclone Nilam to intensify.
5.48 pm: Wind speed has gone up to 100 km per hour and more than 4000 people have been evacuated near Mahabalipuram. Cuddalore has now been declared cleared of landfall.
5.35 pm: The Met department has said that Nilam is crossing coast near Mahabalipuram and heavy winds and rains are expected.
Cyclone 'Nilam' on Wednesday intensified into a severe storm with extremely heavy rainfall expected over North coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry even as the weather department warned of extensive damage to huts, standing crops and power lines. The system would intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm and move north-westwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Puducherry and Nellore close to Chennai by this evening, it said in its latest bulletin.
Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are bracing for Cyclone Nilam. It is less than 300 kilometres south east from Chennai's coast and is expected to move to region between Cuddalore Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh by Wednesday evening. Met Department Deputy Director SR Ramanan has said that the cyclone is expected to cross between Puducherry and Nellore between 4 pm and 4:22 pm.
The cyclone is moving in the northeast direction and is 260 kn away from Chennai, he said. Strong winds measuring 60 km per hour have been recorded. According to forecasters, the cyclone will hit the Tamil Nadu coast at 100 kmph. He also said that power and communication lines are likely to be hit by the cyclone.
Schools and colleges in nine districts including Chennai remained shut on Wednesday as well. Some government and private offices that were opened, closed at 3 pm in Chennai to reduce traffic congestion.
Five coastal districts in Andhra which are in Nilam's path are on alert. Fishermen have been advised against venturing out to sea till the storm passes. Rescue teams are also on standby and shelters being prepared in case evacuation becomes necessary.
The Chennai port on the southeast coast has stopped cargo operations after a cyclone warning, a port official said on Tuesday. "Only cargo operations have stopped, not berthing," said the official, who requested anonymity.
Extremely heavy rainfall of over 25 cm or more is expected over north Coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the next 24 hours. Rainfall at most places with isolated heavy to very heavy falls would occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and north interior Tamil Nadu in the next 48 hours with gale speeds of 90-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
The sea condition would be "high to very high" along and off North Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and South Andhra Pradesh coast, the Met office said. Storm surge of about 1-1.5 metre over the astronomical tide is likely to inundate low lying areas of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Nellore districts, it said. The Met office also advised total suspension of fishing operations and for coastal dwellers to move to safer places.
Helpline: Cuddalore -1077
Chennai - 1913
(With additional informational from PTI)Latest satellite image of cyclone Nilam
Cyclone Nilam - observed and forecast track
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