Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami declared a statewide public holiday on Wednesday as Cyclone Nivar is expected to cross Tamil Nadu-Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram on Wednesday evening.
"The severe cyclonic storm is expected to cross between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry by tomorrow evening. Under the influence of this cyclone, rainfall is expected to continue up to 27th November in Tamil Nadu," S Balachandran, IMD Chennai said.
IMD said on Tuesday that the cyclone has a wind speed of 100-110 kmph and gusting to 120 kmph. The coastal areas of Tamil Nadu are expected to receive heavy rain between November 23-26.
With the onset of the cyclone, rains started pouring heavily in the Thiruvarur district on Tuesday evening.
"Extremely heavy rainfall expected in coastal and north interior Tamil Nadu districts on November 25. The most vulnerable zone is north Tamil Nadu districts," Dr Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General, IMD said on Tuesday.
As a precautionary measure, on behalf of the Tamil Nadu Railway Police, a team of disaster rescue and swimmers were also put on standby.
"As many as 12 teams are positioned in Tamil Nadu, two teams in Puducherry and one team in Karaikal for monitoring the situation. Three teams are also positioned in Nellore while one team is in Chittoor. Additional three teams are pre-positioned in Vizag. Total 22 teams available on the ground and eight teams on standby. Total 30 teams committed to tackling the cyclone," DG stated.
Following the IMD warning about the cyclone posing a grave danger to life and health and safety of the public, Section 144, prohibiting the assembly of more than four people, has been imposed in Puducherry, beginning Tuesday night. It will continue till the morning of November 26, Puducherry's District Magistrate informed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry all possible supports from the Centre.
Indian Navy also informed that five flood relief teams and a diving team is ready for deployment at Chennai.
"One flood relief team each on standby at Naval Detachment Nagapattinam, Rameswaram and air station INS Parundu. INS Jyoti deployed with HADR brick and diving teams along Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coast," Indian Navy stated.
RK Jenamani, senior scientist, IMD said, Nivar Cyclone is currently 50km south-west of Chennai and is moving north-westward.
"The prediction is that it is likely to move towards Tamil Nadu coast and cross close to Puducherry around 5 pm tomorrow. It will intensify further," he added.
Puducherry has installed 'Number 7 storm warning cage at the port areas' in response to the cyclonic storm, which means the port will experience severe weather from a storm of light or moderate-intensity that is expected to cross over or near the port.
Moreover, a disaster rescue team of 40 people have reached Puducherry with the safety equipment to deal with the storm.