With an expected windspeed of 120-145 kmph, Cyclone Nivar is expected to make landfall this midnight or in the early hours of Thursday between Mamallapuram, or Mahabalipuram as its popularly known, and Karaikal in Puducherry. While southern India is waiting for the phenomenon in trepidation and fear, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh are expected to weather the worst of the cyclone.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has declared a public holiday tomorrow in 13 districts including Chennai, the capital. The Chennai airport has been shuttered till 7 am tomorrow. Metro services have been suspended as well as Tamil Nadu and Puducherry waits for the very severe cyclonic storm. Chennai witnessed heavy rains on Wedesday. With water levels rising above danger limits, the government opened the gates of the Chembarambakkam Lake near Chennai. The gates of the reservoir have been opened for the first time in five years. Initially, 1,000 cusecs of water was released into the Adyar river when the water level rose to 3,000 million cubic feet. The capacity of the lake is 3,645 million cubic feet.
Various roads in Chennai have been inundated due to the heavy rains. In order to prevent any untoward incident, the Chennai municipal corporation has ordered the removal of all hoardings.
About 30 teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) have been deployed in the three states. For immediate deployment, if needed, 20 teams have been kept on standby. All authorities concerned have been asked by the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) to ensure zero casualties and early restoration of normalcy. Some 15 districts are expected to be affected by Nivar. Thousands of people have been shifted to shelter homes. Widespread damage is expected to power lines and communication networks. There are also fears that houses will be damaged and trees uprooted due to the Nivar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that he is keeping a close watch on the situation. He said he has spoken to the chief ministers of Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and assured them all help from the Centre.