Due to Cyclone Vardah, Chennai is likely to receive very heavy rainfall up to 20 cm. (PTI)
Chennai: Cyclonic storm 'Vardah' will make landfall between north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh on Monday prompting rescue and armed forces, including the Navy, to sound an alert. Tamil Nadu has announced a holiday for schools and colleges in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur, and parts of Villupuram. Cyclone Vardah, which was 330 km east of Chennai on Sunday evening, is likely to make landfall near Pulicat, around 60 km away from the Tamil Nadu capital with wind speeds of around 80 to 100 km an hour. Chennai is likely to receive very heavy rainfall up to 20 cm.
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Heavy rain has been forecast today in the northern districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram. The sea would be rough and fishermen have been asked to not venture into the sea for the next 48 hours.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Chief Minister O Panneerselvam held a meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force and the armed forces have been asked to be on standby. Senior bureaucrats have been dispatched to the districts that are likely to be on the path of the cyclone.
The ships have additional divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, integral helicopters and relief material including food, tents, clothes, medicines and blankets, in quantities adequate for over 5,000 people. Besides, 30 diving teams with Gemini boats and four platoons with additional relief material are ready.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who cancelled his trip to the Gulf - scheduled to begin tomorrow - said, "The intensity of Vardah may not be as high as Hudhud, which battered Visakhapatnam in October 2014. Nevertheless, we are taking all precautions".
The state government is taking the help of the Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, to track the progression of the cyclone. The Met office said the cyclone has reached within the range of the Dopler Radar at Chennai, so more accurate predictions are likely.
The Andhra Pradesh government has informed the local administration in Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Krishna districts, which have been put on high alert. Puducherry has also declared a holiday for schools and colleges.
Mr Naidu said the coastal areas of Prakasam and SPS Nellore districts are likely to be hit heavily. Chittoor and Kadapa districts of Rayalaseema are also expected to receive heavy rainfall.
"I will constantly monitor the situation," Chandrababu Naidu told officials. "Keep adequate stocks of food and also cash. Electricity poles and cement should also be kept ready for any emergency."