The latest bulletin from the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TN SDMA) reads that Cyclone Gaja will make landfall around Thursday evening, a little later than what was predicted on Tuesday.
According to the latest update, the cyclone lies 580 km east of Chennai and 680 km northeast of Nagapattinam and is likely to make landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore on Thursday evening.
While the costal districts in TN are on alert to deal with any damage due to the cyclone, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) tweeted on Wednesday that 15 NDRF teams have been prepositioned at Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Puducherry, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
A circular put out by the TN SDMA on Tuesday issued heavy rainfall warning, of above 20 cm, in districts like Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram for Thursday.
However, it looks like Cyclone Gaja might give Chennai a miss this time. According to a report in the Times of India, “After lying stationary for 24 hours in a region between two opposing winds, Gaja has shifted course further down south.”
The report further states that the presence of Cyclone Bouchra that lies more than 2,400 km from the Bay of Bengal has led to difficulty in predicting the trajectory of Cyclone Gaja.
TN SDMA has also issued a weather warning for the next 19 hours for fishermen.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Water Resources, in a letter to the TN Chief Secretary of State, the Principal Secretary, Disaster Management, and Engineer in Chief, PWD, WRO, Chennai has advised a round the clock vigil in all dams, especially the small and medium ones.
The state has been preparing itself for Gaja over the past two days. Cuddalore, which is expected to face the brunt of the cyclone, has identified 3,124 first responders and has trained them on the basic procedures to follow in case of any disaster. They also have 42 permanent shelters that can house 25,000 people and 191 temporary shelters.