Cyclone 'Gaja' is very likely to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore, South of Nagapattinam by early hours of Friday as a severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph, a weather bulletin said Thursday night.
The state government, which has put its machinery in full alert in vulnerable districts, said a total of 63,203 people have been evacuated and housed in 331 relief centres in six districts including Cuddalore and Nagapattinam.
Earlier, an India Meteorological Department bulletin at 7.50 pm said the outer band of the system has already entered the coast and rainfall has commenced over coastal areas of Tamil Nadu.
A holiday has been declared for educational institutions in seven districts, including Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore and Ramanathapuram, and the government has advised private firms, and establishments to send backtheir employees early so that they could reach their homes before 4 pm.
As the sea was rough, police have been advised to intensify efforts to bar people from going near beaches to witness the cyclone or click selfies.
Four teams each of National Disaster Response Force personnel have been deployed in Nagapattinam district while two teams of the state disaster response force in Cuddalore district, officials said.
The state disaster management authority has released an animated video aimed at creating awareness on the do's and don'ts during cyclone.
The government has announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need assistance.
In view of the cyclone, the Southern Railway announced cancellation of four trains, including three from Chennai to destinations in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Thanjavur districts, scheduled for departure Thursday.
It also diverted four express trains bound for southern districts, a release said.