New Delhi: One person has been died due to Cyclone Nilam at the Tamil Nadu coast near Mahabalipuram. The crew member drowned after a life boat carrying him and 21 colleagues capsized in choppy waters off Besant Nagar locality in south Chennai in high velocity winds just hours before the cyclone hit the coast.
Five crew members of the ship are missing. The Met department says Nilam could weaken, with less rains in the next 24 hours. Wind speeds went up to 100 kilometers per hour in some areas when the cyclone made landfall. Around 3500 people have been evacuated from Mahabalipuram and taken to relief centres.
Team of the national disaster response force has been sent out. Five coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh are also on alert. Heavy rains and gale continued to lash Nellore and other districts of Andhra Pradesh close to Tamil Nadu on Wednesday due to the cyclonic storm 'Nilam.'
According to state officials around 100 trees and some electric poles collapsed due to the strong winds. Destruction of property was yet to be assessed, but the damage may not be similar to the one inflicted by Cylcone Thane in December last year, state government officials said.
"The storm crossed the coast between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Strong winds will continue for another six hours and by Thursday morning everything will calm down," Y.E.A. Raj, deputy director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS. Nevertheless the Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts Thursday.
"We are experiencing strong winds and not rains. We have not received any complaints about loss of life or damage to properties," a police official in Kalpakkam told IANS over phone. Mamallapuram, a seventh century port city located near here, is a popular tourist destination for its sculptures and is classified as a Unesco world heritage site.
On the other hand, neighbouring Kalpakkam is known as nuclear island with a couple of test reactors of India Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and two units of Madras Atomic Power Station. According to Raj wind speed touched 75 kmph here and 65 kmph at Kalpakkam.
The absence of rain and relative slow wind speed than expectation helped in a major way to reduce the damage, said a state government official. According to government officials, the extent of damage will be known Thursday. Chennai Corporation had made arrangements to remove the fallen trees immediately. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa reviewed the preventive measures to be taken during the storm while ordering adequate stocks of essential items at relief centres.
There was no loss of life or property reported from any of the districts in south coastal Andhra Pradesh. Electricity supply was disrupted in villages under 16 mandals in Nellore district due strong winds. Heavy rains lashed Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Chittoor districts. In Hyderabad, minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation Raghuveera Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials Wednesday evening, said the state was not facing any major threat.
The minister, however, said the south coastal districts and the Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region were on alert and taking all measures to prevent loss of life and property. The government deputed three senior officials to Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam districts to supervise the relief operations. A team of 47 personnel from National Disaster Response Force were sent to Nellore to take up rescue operations, if required.
The minister said there were no reports of any crop damage. He told reporters that 61 mandals received four cm rainfall during last 24 hours. He said the rains under the influence of the cyclone had benefitted the farmers.
With additional information from agenciesSatellite image of cyclone Nilam
Cyclone Nilam - observed and forecast track
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