NEWS
13/11/2018 2:10 PM IST | Updated 13/11/2018 2:24 PM IST

Cyclone Gaja: Tamil Nadu, Puducherry Brace For Storm, Rescue Personnel On Standby

Cyclone Gaja is expected to bring light rains over parts of coastal Tamil Nadu on Wednesday

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Representative image.

Cyclonic storm Gaja is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Pamban on 15 November, bringing heavy rainfall coupled with gale wind, the Met office said on Monday.

The state government has put its machinery on alert and kept on standby 30,500 rescue personnel, according to PTI. The cyclone, according to Skymet Weather, is also expected to bring light rains over parts of coastal Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.

The India Meteorological Department has advised fishermen to return to coast.

Neighbouring union territory of Puducherry, which is also covered by the cyclone alert, said it is on high alert as well and precautionary steps are being taken to meet the situation.

The cyclone lay about 720 km east northeast of Chennai over the Bay on Monday and it is very likely to move west southwestwards and intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm by Tuesday, the IMD said in its latest bulletin, according to PTI.

M Mohapatra, director of meteorology at IMD, was quoted by Hindustan Timesas saying, "We haven't issued evacuation warning yet but people should stay safe." He added that while Gaja is developing into a severe cyclonic storm, it will weaken marginally before landfall.

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami chaired a high-level meeting at the Secretariat of ministers and top officials to review the preparedness in the wake of the storm and forecast of heavy rainfall.

Revenue Minsiter RB Udaya Kumar was quoted as saying by PTI that 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby while arrangements had been made for food and shelter at relief centres for those in low lying areas.

Across the state, a total of 4,399 locations have been identified as vulnerable and teams have been deployed for rescue, he was quoted as saying by PTI.

Teams of the National and State Disaster Response Forces are also ready for deployment. Storm surge of height of about 1.0 meter is very likely to inundate low lying areas — Nagappattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry.

The IMD also warned of major damage to thatched huts and houses, and standing crops.

Puducherry Revenue and Industries Minister M O H F Shah Jahan said the union territory has been put on high alert, according to PTI.

Services of NDRF personnel will be requisitioned if warranted, he said after a review meeting with top officials. The minister also appealed to people to not trust fake information on social media.