A depression over Bay of Bengal is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and cross the north Tamil Nadu coast early on December 2, bringing heavy rainfall in its wake, the weather office said on Wednesday.
The cyclonic storm has been named 'Nada', S Balachandran, director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, told media persons in Chennai.
The weather office said the depression over southeast Bay of Bengal moved west-northwestwards and intensified into a deep depression and lay centred about 830 km of southeast Chennai, 780 km east-southeast of Puducherry and 490 km east-southeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka.
"The system is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards and intensify further into a cyclonic storm (Nada) during next 12 hours. It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu coast between Vedaranyam and Chennai close to Cuddalore by early hours of December 2," it said.
In its warning, the weather office forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on December 1 and 2.
"Squally winds would commence to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from December 1 morning," it said and asked fishermen not to venture into the sea.
Those out in the sea were advised to return immediately.
In Chennai, rains are expected to start early Thursday morning and intensify gradually, he said, adding, spells of heavy to very heavy rain are likely in the city. Government schools in the city have been shut down for the next two days
Meanwhile, the National Disaster Management Authority held a review meeting with Tamil Nadu government officials, including Chief Secretary P Ramamohana Rao on the preparedness to face the impact of the north east monsoon.
NDMA member Lt Gen N C Marwah, visited Chennai on November 29 and 30 to "review the preparedness measures undertaken by Government of Tamil Nadu to meet the impact of North East Monsoon," a state government release said.
Commissioner of Revenue Administration K Satyagopal made a detailed presentation on various preventive and mitigation measures undertaken and preparedness measures carried out by the state government, it said.
He also explained new initiatives taken by the state government such as Vulnerability mapping and analysis, formation of Inter Departmental Zonal Teams in vulnerable areas, Institutional arrangements, restoration of water bodies and water courses and community participation, it added.
Marwah also held detailed discussions with Rao in a meeting attended by other senior officials including Revenue Secretary B Chandramohan.
He "conveyed his appreciation and satisfaction over the initiatives taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu based on the experience gained during flooding in the state during 2015," the release added.
Cuddalore District administration said elaborate precautionary measures had been taken to meet any eventuality in view of the cyclone expected to cross the district coast.
Officials of all departments had been put on high alert, District Collector T P Rajesh told reporters in Cuddalore.
The district had been divided into 79 zones and each of it would be assigned to a 21-member team of officials who would oversee relief works.
VHF network based walki-talkies had been given to 1,728 safety officials and cyclone shelters kept ready in 51 fishing villages to accommodate people, he said.
Protected drinking water mixed with chlorine had been filled in all overhead tanks across the district.
All rivers flowing through and tanks and ponds in the district had already been desilted utilising Rs 179 crore sanctioned by the state government and Rs 30.77 crore contributed by Neyveli Lignite Corporation to gear up for meeting this year's monsoon, the Collector said.
Special canals had been dug in the NLC to protect the three lignite mines from possible flooding, he added.
Chennai and its suburbs in neighbouring Kancheepuram and Tiruvallore districts witnessed record rainfalls in the first week of December last year, resulting in a deluge.
Photograph: PTI Photo