Environment

Cyclone Nivar Makes Landfall, Weakens Into 'Severe Cyclonic Storm'

There were no reports of loss of life due to the cyclone, but heavy rains continue in Puducherry and Tamil Nadu.

New Delhi: Very severe cyclonic storm Nivar made landfall near Puducherry in the early hours of Thursday, bringing heavy rains to the union territory and neighbouring Tamil Nadu, India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials said.

Nivar weakened into a severe cyclonic storm after it crossed coast near Puducherry, the IMD said.

There were no reports of loss of life due to the cyclone which uprooted trees. Incidents of wall collapse were reported from some parts of Tamil Nadu, state revenue minister R.B. Udhayakumar said.

Earlier, the IMD had said Nivar will cross coast near Puducherry with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph, gusting up to 145 kmph. The landfall of Nivar began late on Wednesday night.

Deputy director general of meteorology, Chennai, S. Balachandran said rainfall is likely to continue in Tamil Nadu. “The storm now lies inside the land area. There will, however, be rainfall and strong winds as well,” he told PTI.

In the next six hours, the severe cyclonic storm will further weaken, he said.

According to NDTV, officials in Chennai released water from a major reservoir and cleared fallen trees. Chennai airport has been declared closed till 9 am on Thursday.

Udhayakumar said there were no reports of loss of life or crop damage. “There is no loss of lives due to the rains. People have given us full cooperation,” he said. Incidents of wall collapse were reported from a few places, he said.

“It’s a solace that nothing untoward happened and the weakening of the cyclone is good news,” he said.

The minister said about 2.5 lakh people were housed in cyclone shelters in Tamil Nadu as part of safety measures.

According to the inputs received so far, crops and groves are safe in the state, Udhayakumar told reporters.

However, the situation would be reviewed and based on its outcome, insurance payout and compensation to farmers, if any, would be announced by chief minister E. Palaniswami, he said.

Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu recorded the highest rainfall at 24.6 cm, followed by 23.7 cm in Puducherry from 8.30 PM on Wednesday till 2.30 am on Thursday.

Nagapattinam recorded 6.3 cm rainfall, Karaikal 8.6 cm and Chennai 8.9 cm during the same period.

Meanwhile, revenue, civic and police authorities were on their toes coordinating and removing uprooted trees using heavy-duty motor equipment and backhoe loaders.

According to initial estimates, over 150 trees were uprooted in Tamil Nadu alone.

As the storm began crossing coast, the rainfall stopped briefly here. It returned with strong winds in some localities close to the city and the suburban shoreline.

The approach roads to the Marina beach, off the arterial Kamaraj Salai, were flooded and sheets of water reached close to the main road where the city’s fishermen had securely tied up their boats.

As rains lashed Mamallapuram near here, troops of monkeys sought refuge under the decorative, cave-like arches, dotted with images of deities carved in stone at the ancient Sri Sthalasayana Perumal temple.

Before the storm, Udhayakumar had told Reuters, “Over 1.45 lakh people have been shifted to 1,516 relief camps across the state as a precaution.”

Puducherry chief minister V. Narayanasamy told NDTV that the union territory government will help people rebuild broken homes and thatched roofs that were swept away. All non-essential shops in the area have been closed.

(With agency inputs)