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The depression over the north Andaman Sea intensified into a deep depression, moving north and northeast at 12 kmph, the India Meteorological Department, or IMD, said.
"It is likely to move nearly northwards along and off Andaman Islands towards the Myanmar coast during the next 48 hours," the IMD said in a bulletin.
"Light to moderate rainfall/thundershower at most places with heavy/very heavy rainfall at isolated places during next 12 hours over north Andaman Islands and heavy rainfall at isolated places over south Andaman Islands," the IMD tweeted this afternoon. Light to moderate rain is also expected in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.
People living in low-lying and flood-prone areas in the archipelago have been evacuated to temporary camps in north and middle Andamans and south Andaman districts, officials said.
Inter-island ferry and shipping services with Chennai and Visakhapatnam have been stopped, and all educational institutions closed, they said.
Some 150 personnel of the National Disaster Response Force, or NDRF, have been deployed.
Long Island received 131 mm of rainfall till 8.30 am, while Port Blair saw 26,1 mm rainfall, officials said.
Control Rooms have been opened in all the three districts of the Union Territory. The sea condition is likely to be very rough and the weather office has asked tourism and fishing activities to be stopped for the next two days.
Fishermen have been asked not to go out in southeast Bay of Bengal today and in Andaman Sea today and tomorrow.
Asani is the year's first cyclone and the first to form in the month of March in nearly two decades. The name of the cyclone is given by Sri Lanka, according to an old list posted by the IMD on Twitter. The word Asani means "wrath" in Sinhala.
With inputs from ANI
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