Heavy rains coupled with squally winds on Monday lashed the northern coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, as cyclonic storm 'Vardah' was expected to hit land in the afternoon.

Cyclone Vardah will make landfall between north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh on Monday. Both the coastal states have put in place a number of measures to deal with it and Tamil Nadu has announced a holiday for all educational institutions in four districts.

The governments of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry have swung into action. The chief ministers are constantly monitoring the situation and are holding meetings with their respective officials.

How bad is Cyclone Vardah?

The Regional Meteorological Centre said Cyclone Vardah lay centred at 330 km east of Chennai at 14:30 hours on Sunday and would move westwards before making landfall between north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts on Monday afternoon.

The earlier forecast was that it would weaken into a cyclonic storm, thereby reducing its intensity considerably. At 9:30 AM, the cyclone was lay centered around 105 kms east-northeast of Chennai.

By the time it makes reaches land, its wind speed is expected to be 100-110 kmph with winds gusting up to 120 kmph. The wind speed during a very severe cyclonic storm is 120 to 130 kmph.

Under its impact, rains started on Sunday night and have been gradually increasing in the northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram, S Balachandran, Director, Area Cyclone Warning Centre, said, adding that strong winds could hit speeds up to 80-90 kph.

What threats does it pose?

The Indian Meteorological Department said it may cause damage to thatched huts and power and communication lines.

Damage may also be caused to crops and orchards in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu; Ongole and Nellore districts of Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry,

What are the preventive measures being taken?

  • The Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday for educational institutions in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur, besides coastal areas of Villupuram. Necessary steps for ensuring the safety of their students, especially hostel inmates, and their water and food requirements are also being taken.
  • It also asked private establishments and undertakings in these districts to allow their staff to take a holiday or work from home.
  • Arrangements are being made to evacuate people from low-lying and vulnerable areas. Relief centres are being kept in readiness along with necessary food, water and other arrangements.
  • Food and other essential commodities are being kept ready in adequate quantities.
  • The Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard have been alerted to be on standby for deployment as and when necessary,
  • NDRF, SDRF, Fire and Rescue services department personnel have already been pre-positioned and shall be immediately utilised wherever necessary for rescue and relief operations.
  • Health department has been asked to take measures to organise special camps and to pre-position generators, emergency supplies, medicines and oxygen cylinders in Government hospitals.
  • The Puducherry government on Monday declared a holiday for all educational institutions in Puducherry and Karaikal regions due to heavy rains.

Stay inside

  • People have been asked to stay indoors during the heavy rains. They have also been advised to stock adequate food, medicines and drinking water at home and use them judiciously.
  • Fishermen in all coastal areas have been asked to not venture out for the next 48 hours.

(With inputs from PTI)

(Feature image source: PTI)