Cyclone Gaja, the deep depression that has been brewing in the Bay of Bengal for nearly a week, finally made landfall on Friday morning between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam town in Tamil Nadu. Over 76,000 people were preemptively evacuated on Thursday across Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, and Thiruvarur districts.
The cyclone, with winds of speeds up to 120 kmph, was upgraded to a severe cyclonic storm at the time of landfall. The eye of the cyclone entered land just past midnight at 12:30 am. Light to moderate thunderstorms were also experienced through the night in these districts.
Speaking to media persons in the early hours of Friday, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, RB Udhayakumar, said, “We are confident that we have safely faced Cyclone Gaja as of now. Some huts have been damaged; rains and winds continue, they will gradually decrease. Round the clock relief measures are ongoing where necessary. Disaster rescue officials and machinery is at the ready. Removal of debris will also continue,” he said.
Streets in several coastal districts remain blocked due to fallen trees and uprooted power lines. Houses were also witness to damage as uprooted trees fell on them. Sources in the administration informed The News Minute that it would take time to restore power supply to affected areas.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), the cyclone, which made landfall between 12:30 am and 2:30 am, is expected to make its way westward as it begins to weaken over the next few hours.
The IMD predicted that most places in South interior Tamil Nadu would experience rainfall with a few places likely to experience heavy and very heavy downpour. “Rainfall at most places with heavy falls at isolated places very likely over north interior Tamil Nadu,” the IMD added, in its bulletin on Friday.
Bulletin No 45- #SevereCyclonicStorm #CycloneGaja over coastal TN about 20 km west NW of #Atiramapattinam. Likely to move westwards and weakened into an deep depression during next 6hrs. Wind speed of #Nagapattinam 44 kmph & karaikal 35 kmph at 0530 hrs #Gaja #GajaCycloneUpdate pic.twitter.com/RevPbBuVAZ— TN SDMA (@tnsdma) November 16, 2018