Cyclone Nada is expected to pass Tamil Nadu, Puducherry on December 2.
Chennai: Chennai witnessed heavy rain as Cyclone Nada weakened into a "Deep Depression" on its way to Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the Bay of Bengal. The storm is still weakening and may make landfall in the very early hours of Friday near Cuddalore, officials said. The Met office said it may be further downgraded to being called a "depression" which is two notches below cyclone. It is currently about 270 km away from Tamil Nadu capital Chennai, which has been cloudy since morning with mild showers in some areas.
The Navy said it has "assumed high degree of readiness". Two naval ships, Shakti and Satpura are on standby with divers, doctors, inflatable rubber boats, helicopters and relief material, said a statement.
The weatherman has said heavier rain is likely in Chennai and in other parts of coastal Tamil Nadu later in the day and tomorrow. Fog is also forecast for the next three to four days.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF have been posted in Cuddalore, which is about 20 km away from Puducherry. Both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have been on alert since Wednesday and fishermen have been called in from the sea.
Schools are closed in Tamil Nadu's northern coastal districts like Chennai, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore and in Puducherry for the next two days.
In Cuddalore, where there has been a steady drizzle since morning, the administration has been instructed to evacuate people from low lying areas and cyclone shelters and emergency services have been readied.
The Met office has said that while Cyclone Nada will bring with it heavy rainfall on Friday, it is unlikely to be as intense as the Cyclone Thane that had hit Cuddalore a few years ago.
In Chennai, scarred by the floods caused by heavy rain last year that killed more than 100 people and made many homeless. The Tamil Nadu government has issued a statement asking people to cooperate, not to panic, and closely monitor broadcasts via TV or radio for any updates.
Dr S Balachandran, Deputy Director of Meteorology said, "Puducherry and Cuddalore will receive heavy rainfall while Chennai will get moderate rains, but people need not panic as the intensity will not be as much as it was last year."
Speaking about the readiness to deal with the situation, Cuddalore Collector TP Rajesh said, "We are prepared to deal with the situation. We have identified vulnerable villages, and have kept boats and cyclone shelters ready. We have also kept supplies and schools prepared in case we need to move people. We also have 3000 electric lamp posts ready to restore power supply quickly if there is any disruption."
Puducherry Chief Minister V Narayanasamy said his administration is prepared well to meet any contingency. Shelters, he said, are ready for people who may have to be evacuated from near the sea and storm water drains have been cleared to avoid flooding.