The latest update on Cyclone Gaja that is looming just outside the south-western coast of peninsular India is that the cyclone might make its landfall between Pamban and Cuddalore on November 15, forenoon.
A circular put out by Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TN-SDMA) has issued heavy rainfall warning, above 20 cm, in districts like Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram on November 15.
Gaja’s present location is about 690 km east-northeast of Chennai and 790 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam. During landfall, wind speeds are expected to be as high as 115 kmph along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts.
The sea condition too has been predicted to be rough to very rough along TN and AP coasts from November 14 morning onwards. However, the cyclone’s intensity is expected to weaken as it makes its landfall.
Weather blogger Pradeep John has observed the landfall location to be around Puducherry/Cuddalore and Nagapattinam/Vedaranyam areas.
“We can expect the landfall location to be little higher between Pondy/Cuddalore to Nagai/Vedaranayam around 15th November noon to night with winds touching 60-70 km/hr and gusting to 80 km/hr. So clearly not a strong cyclone,” he wrote on his Facebook post.
He further added that rains would be heavy to very heavy around the landfall area. “Chennai will see good rains from 14th night / 15th morning but not threatening ones which require BCP. It will be followed by pull effect rains on 16-17th after cyclone moves in Arabian Sea. And then the next low forms around 19-20th in Bay of Bengal,” reads his post.
Ministry of Water Resources, in a letter to TN Chief Secretary of State, the Principal Secretary, Disaster management and Engineer in Chief, PWD, WRO, Chennai has advised for a round the clock vigil in all damns, especially the small and medium ones.
“Extremely heavy rainfall in the catchment area is sufficient to fill them up and lapse time between rainfall and peak inflow can be less than 24 hours and in some cases it can be as low as 6-12 hours. Necessarry precation has to be taken as per standard operation procedure,” the letter reads.
The state has been preparing itself for Gaja over the past two days. Cuddalore which is expected to face the brunt of it has identified 3,124 first responders and has trained them on the basic procedure to follow in case of disaster. They also have 42 permanent shelters which can house 25,000 people and 191 temporary shelters.