The administration of Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district is on alert and has declared a holiday to all schools in 26 mandals where the impact of Cyclone Gaja is expected to be felt on Friday, as a precautionary measure.
The announcement was made by District Collector PS Pradyumna, who also asked officials to be alert and told reporters that they were ready to takle the cyclone, with government officials being deployed in each mandal to assess the impact and ensure speedy rescue and relief operations, followed by rehabilitation and compensation work following the storm.
The Collector also said that the administration had advised those living in low lying areas to move to safer places.
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD). In its weather bulletin, the IMD said Gaja crossed by 12.30 am and 2.30 am between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam with a wind speed of about 110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph.
The high-speed wind has damaged the roof sheets of Nagapattinam railway station. Speaking to the media, R.B. Udhyakumar, Tamil Naduâ€™s Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said the extent of damages will be known once the wind speed gets reduced. He said after the rains preventive measures against breakout of disease will be taken.
Over 63,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas and housed in 289 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself. According to the IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph is very likely to occur in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts, the IMD said.