As Chennai continues to witness heavy rains accompanied by strong winds, the greater Chennai traffic police has decided to close all major routes across different zones in the city. The roads will remain closed until further notice to facilitate rescue and relief operations.
This includes Kamarajar road off Marian beach, East Coast road (ECR), Old Mahabalipuram road (OMR) and the Ennore express Highway.
Severe Cyclonic Storm Nivar has intensified into Very Severe Cyclonic Storm (VSCS) and is currently around 90 kilometres from Cuddalore, 150 kilometres from Puducherry and 220 kilometres away from Chennai, as per the latest bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone is expected to make landfall between Karaikal and Mahabalipuram by November 25 midnight or in the early hours of November 26.
As per the bulletin released by the IMD at 4.30 pm on Wednesday, cyclone Nivar has been moving at a speed of 16 kilometres per hour for the past six hours as recorded at 2.30 pm on Wednesday. “It is very likely to move northwestwards and cross Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts between Karaikal and Mamallapuram around Puducherry during mid-night of 25th and early hours of 26th November 2020 as a very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 120-130 kmph gusting to 145 kmph,” the bulletin said.
The bulletin also added that the cyclonic system is likely to maintain its intensity for about six hours after its landfall before weakening gradually. The IMD has forecast isolated extremely heavy rainfall over Ranipet, Tiruvannamalai, Tirupattur, Vellore districts of Tamilnadu and Chittoor, Kurnool, Prakasam; Cuddapah districts of Andhra Pradesh and adjoining southeast Telangana on November 26. The weather agency has also forecast heavy to very heavy rainfall at isolated places in the remaining districts of north interior Tamilnadu, south Andhra Pradesh and southeast Telangana.
With landfall expected late on Wednesday night or early Thursday morning, the government has decided to declare a public holiday in 16 districts of the state on November 26.
This includes Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Thiruvannamalai, Cuddalore, Kancheepuram, Chennai, Chengalpattu, Thiruvallur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Villupuram, Tirupattur, Vellore, Ranipet and Nagapattinam districts.
The TN government has ordered for all its offices including local bodies, government undertakings, corporations, boards, banks, financial institutions, etc to remain closed. Essential services can however function as usual.
Chennai Airport has suspended operations from 7 pm on Wednesday to 7 am on Thursday. The decision has been taken with safety of passengers in mind
The Army has deployed 14 rescue teams across Tamil Nadu to step in if required.
Chennai Metro railway services will be suspended by 8 pm on Wednesday. The last trains from all the terminals will depart by 7 pm. The services for Thursday will be announced based on the weather conditions.
30,000 people have been evacuated from Tamil Nadu & 7,000 people have been evacuated from Puducherry.