Ramesh A
  karma level 14292

Cyclone Nilam moves towards landfall, 'heavy damage' likely

A water-logged Dr Besant road following heavy rains due to Cyclonic Storm Nilam in Chennai. UNI Photo
Cyclone Nilam over Bay of Bengal is expected to cross between Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh coasts on Wednesday evening, said a weather department official. The cyclone is now around 320 km south-southeast of  Chennai and is moving, an official said. "Nilam is expected  to  cross the coast between Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu) and Nellore (Andhra Pradesh) today (Wednesday) evening," the weather official said.

According to the weatherman, rainfall is expected at most places over coastal Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.Deputy director general, Indian Meteorological Department, YEA Raj on Wednesday told Hindustan Times that the cyclone may not have as severe an intensity as was being anticipated earlier, but this in no way meant that it was not dangerous. It would still have its impact, with wind speed of upto 85 km expected to sweep the north Tamil Nadu.

Areas surrounding the landfall area may witnesses heavy damage, he said, advocating caution and preparedness to meet the situation.

“It is slower than expected,” Raj said of the velocity with which the Cyclone Nilam was seen moving on Wednesday morning. But even then, by the time it makes landfall, between Cuddalore and Chennai, wind speeds upto 80 kmph to 85 kmph can be expected, the DDG said and added that periodic updates would be issued by the met department.

Rain has been forecast in the coastal districts of north Tamil Nadu and South Andhra Pradesh, and fishermen in these areas have been advised to stay off sea. Sea condition would be rough along and off North Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and South Andhra Prasdesh coasts during the next 36 hours. Low lying areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur districts would be inundated as also in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh as storm surge is likely to see waves of 1 meter to 1.5 meter high.

But, Raj said, “we are not expecting it to be a severe storm,” Raj said adding the movement of the Cyclone was slow and it had become stationary too for some time.

A more definitive prediction of the site of landfall could be expected by late afternoon or evening, he said.

The sea condition will be rough along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 36 hour.

Storm surge of about 1 to 1.5 metre over the astronomical tide is likely to inundate the low lying areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts in Tamil Nadu and Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.

Standing crops - paddy, groundnut and maize - in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are likely to be damaged, said a weather bulletin.

The Tamil Nadu government has announced holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts.

Authorities were put on high alert after a deep depression lying 500km south east of Chennai intensified into a cyclonic storm and is expected to cross the coast between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday, bringing in torrential rains in the region.

Districts along the Bay of Bengal coast in Andhra Pradesh have been put on high alert as the deep depression that lay centred between Chennai and Nagapattinam is expected to turn into a cyclone on Wednesday evening.

Heavy winds with a speed ranging from 45-55 kmph are expected under the impact.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who was on a tour of Medak district in Telangana, directed revenue minister N
Raghuveera Reddy and chief secretary Minnie Mathew over phone to closely monitor the situation and take all precautionary measures.

He asked them to take up rescue and relief operations wherever necessary, a release from CMO said.

A third warning signal has been issued in Krishnapatnam, Vadarevu, Machilipatnam and Nizampatnam ports while fishermen have been warned not to venture into sea.

Control rooms have been opened in the coastal districts, particularly SPS Nellore and Prakasam that are expected to have major impact of the cyclone.

Nellore district Collector B Sridhar said revenue staff in 23 tehsils in the coastal region have been put on alert to handle any eventuality.

n Krishna, which is a high cyclone-prone district, Collector Buddha Prakash Jyothi opened control rooms in coastal areas and got a campaign conducted asking fishermen to stay away from the sea.

"We are ready to meet any eventuality," Buddha said.

In Singarayakonda area in Prakasam district, high tides were witnessed this morning causing alarm among people.

However, no damage has been reported so far.

The disaster management commissioner has asked the district collectors to keep a close watch on the situation and take appropriate precautionary and preventive measures.

Meanwhile, rainfall has been reported from Nellore, neighbouring Chennai and other districts. An official of Nellore district said revenue officials have been told to set up cyclone shelters.

According to official sources, the cyclonic storm 'Nilam' lay centred over south west Bay of Bengal south east of Chennai. It would move north westward and cross north Tamil Nadu – south coastal Andhra Pradesh between Nagapattinam and Nellore on Wednesday afternoon.

Isolated heavy rain would occur in the districts of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and Nellore and Rayalaseema in the next 48 hours, the sources added.

The storm, named Nilam, as suggested by Pakistan under the cyclone naming procedure, would move northwestwards and cross the coast between Nagapattinam and Nellore by tomorrow afternoon/evening.

Under the influence of the storm, rainfall at most places, with isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall, would occur over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during next 12 hours, a bulletin issued by Area Cyclone Warning Centre at 1pm said.

It forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (25 cm or more) in the region during the subsequent 36 hours.

Control rooms have been opened in the coastal districts, particularly SPS Nellore and Prakasam that are expected to face a major impact of the cyclone.

Windspeeds can reach upto 90 km in Chennai and there could be some disruption in communication lines, the bulletin said.

Danger signals ranging from five to seven have been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Puducherry ports.

The port handles about 10% of traffic passing through the country's major ports, covering a variety of cargoes including crude oil, petroleum products and agricultural commodities.

The Meteorological Department said cyclonic storm Nilam was about 450 kilometres south-southeast of Chennai at 2:30pm local time.

The IMD said the system was expected to move north-northwest and cross the coast near Chennai by the evening of October 31.

The port official said so far two of the 10 vessels waiting for loading or discharge of cargoes have been moved outside to ensure the port's safety and the others would be moved gradually.

Cargo operations were suspended from about 1330 local time and the suspension could continue to Wednesday afternoon or evening, he added.

Krishnapatnam port, which handles around 15 million tonnes of cargo a year including coal, fertilisers and agricultural products, also halted cargo operations, a port official said.

"Just doing this for safety reasons," the official said, adding there were 9 vessels at berth in the port, which is also on the east coast.

The north Indian Ocean usually sees about five cyclones a year, about 5-6% of all cyclones, with October-November and May-June seeing the most severe ones.

Chennai handled just over 27 million tonnes of traffic in April-September, according to the shipping ministry.

The weather office will issue its next bulletin on the storm at 1500 GMT.

Control rooms have been opened in the coastal districts, particularly SPS Nellore and Prakasam that are expected to face a major impact of the cyclone.

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