CHENNAI -- Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh are on high alert as the severe cyclonic storm, Vardah over west central and adjoining southwest Bay of Bengal moved further nearly west-southwest-wards and lay centred at about 180 km east-northeast of Chennai and 250 km east-southeast of Nellore according to Cyclone Warning Centre in Visakhapatnam.
As the cyclone advances, people have been asked to stay indoors as a precautionary measure. Educational institutions in four districts will remain closed on Monday.
The system is very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually while moving towards north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts.
It is very likely to cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts, close to Chennai as a cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 80 to 90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph by Monday afternoon.
Fishermen have been advised not to venture into sea along and off south Andhra Pradesh, north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next 36 hours as the sea conditions would be rough to very rough and become high to phenomenal from today morning.
In Andhra Pradesh seven mandals under Gudur and Sullurupet constituencies in Nellore district and 11 mandals in Prakasam district are kept on high alert.
The Director-general, R.K. Pachnanda, of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) on Monday said that their teams have been prepositioned at all the major location and is closely monitoring the situation to provide immediate, effective and specialized response.
"NDRF is closely monitoring the situation. We have already prepositioned teams in Andhra Pradesh, one is Nellore, two in Sullurpeta, one in Tada, two in Chittoor, and Ongole. We have sufficient standbys at Guntur, apart from a permanent team at Visakhapatnam," Director-general R.K. Pachnanda told ANI.
For Tamil Nadu, Pachnanda said that three teams have been placed in Chennai, two in Kanchipuram, two in Tiruvallur and one is on its way to Puducherry. Apart from that sufficient standby team are reserves at Arakkonam.
"We are closely in touch with state Government authorities and with other agencies like IMD, so that we have immediate, effective and specialized response," he said.
About 500 men from Fire Service department are also getting ready to extend their support in rescue and relief operations besides 120 Police Seva Dal members and swimmers who would extend their services.
The Civil Supplies Department has stocked sufficient food reserves in all FP shops. 150 Cyclone shelters and School buildings were readied for providing shelter to the displaced people from low lying areas.
The State disaster management commissioner M.V. Seshagiri Babu said that the district administrations are being coordinated from Command Control Centre in Vijayawada from time to time in assessing the situation.
Eastern Naval Command, in preparation for the relief efforts, has assumed high degree of readiness to render necessary assistance.
All operational ships have been readied up and kept standby to undertake Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations including evacuation.
Naval aircrafts are also standing by at the Naval Air Stations to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty evacuation and air drop of relief material to the stranded. Port Warning Signal No. 7 kept hoisted in Krishnapatnam, Vodarevu while Warning Signal No. was hoisted in Nizampatnam, Machilipatnam. The remaining ports in the state have hoisted Warning Signal No.2.
The Regional Met Department has said that the cyclone was progressing at a speed of 12 kms an hour. Dr. Balachandran, the director told that Chennai, Kanchipuram, Puducherry and South Andhra districts also will experience heavy to very heavy rainfall. The cyclone though has reduced its intensity, rains are to continue for another 36 hours after the landfall.
The State Government has made all precautionary arrangements in case of any eventuality of Cyclone Vardah.
Rains have started in Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur districts. More than 2000 people from Tiruvallur and people from 44 villages of Kanchipuram have been shifted to safety.
People have been asked not to panic but listen to the government radio and television for reliable information. Seven NDRF teams have been sent to the vulnerable places.
Cyclone warning signal No.10 has been hoisted at Ennore port as the cyclone is likely to make a landfall near Gummidipoondi.
The Indian Airforce and the Navy are also on high alert to attend to immediate needs of the State Government.
People who were affected by rains last year appreciate the role of the defence forces in rescue and relief efforts.
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