In view of the heavy rains expected in Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Ockhi, holiday has been declared for schools in Chennai, Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Kancheepuram, Villupuram, Madurai, Theni, Tanjore and Thiruvarur.
Besides, schools have also declared holiday in Sivaganga, Nilgiris, Dindigul, Salem and Tiruvannamalai districts.
Flights to Tuticorin have been cancelled due to the cyclone with only one flight operating.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Thursday said orders have been issued to the Collectors of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts to take necessary precautionary and relief measures as cyclone Ockhi approaches.
Urging the people not to be afraid, Palaniswami, in a statement issued in Chennai, said he has ordered the officials to ship people living in the low-lying areas to safer places and provide them with food and medical facilities.
A 70-member team from the State Disaster Response Force and two teams consisting of 60 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to Kanyakumari district to take care of rescue and relief operations, he said.
According to the Indian Meteorological Department in Chennai, the Ockhi cyclone will move towards Lakshadweep over the next 24 hours and as a result, there will be rains in Tamil Nadu, south Kerala and Lakshadweep.
The weather department has predicted heavy rains in some places in Tamil Nadu's Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts and Puducherry over the next 24 hours.
It has also warned fishermen on the south Tamil Nadu coast (Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts) not to venture into the sea for the next 24 hours as there will be winds blowing at 65-75 kmph and the sea would be rough.
Earlier, on Thursday evening, a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into a cyclone in the Comorin area, about 70 km south of Kanyakumari district, claiming the lives of at least four persons in the Rajamangalam, Eathamozhi and Vellichandai areas.
Meanwhile, strong winds and heavy rains in Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, and Tuticorin districts disrupted normal life and also uprooted several trees.
Officials have warned people to stay indoors.
Here are a few photographs of the cyclone ravaged areas in Nagercoil and Kanyakumari.
(With IANS inputs)