Cyclone Nilam is likely to be a marginal cyclonic storm. The wind speed is expected to reach up to 100 km per hour at the landfall. The MeT department is expecting a storm surge of over one metre and low lying areas in Chennai, Kanjipuram, Nellore and Thiruvallur may get inundated.
In Nagapattinam and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, cyclone shelters have been kept ready in with essential supplies. The government plans to send generators and sand bags to vulnerable areas in the districts.
In Chennai, 282 schools and 52 community halls have been kept ready for shelter. Four community kitchens are to be activated by the authorities. No evacuation is likely today though as there has not been heavy rainfall yet.
According to officials, the sea will be "very rough to high" and fishermen in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts have been advised to stay off the sea. Boats have been moved to low-lying areas.
The Chennai port on the southeast coast has stopped cargo operations after a cyclone. The port handles about 10 percent of traffic passing through India's major ports, covering a variety of cargoes including crude oil, petroleum products and agricultural commodities.
Windspeeds can reach upto 90 km in Chennai and there could be some disruption in communication lines, say officials. Danger signals ranging from five to seven have been hoisted at Chennai, Ennore, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Puducherry ports.
Normal life in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Cuddalore and Villupuram was hit by incessant rains since Tuesday morning. A holiday was declared today for schools and colleges.
In Andhra Pradesh, 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, which are expected to face a major impact of the cyclone.
"The district has a clear contingency plan; each department including the police, fire and rescue services have been allotted specific work like clearing fallen trees, evacuating people etc. and all 21 cyclone shelters are ready," the Collector of Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, Mr T Munusamy told NDTV. Cuddalore collector, Mr Rajendra Ratnoo said generators and sand bags have been made available for the district.
(With inputs from agencies)
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