Nivar weakens into "severe cyclonic storm;" rains lash Chennai, Puducherry
Late last night, Cyclone Nivar made landfall near Puducherry, but it is learned to have weakened. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) said this morning that the cyclone would further weaken and become a cyclonic storm. Following the landfall, heavy rains lashed Tamil Nadu's capital Chennai, the Cuddalore town as well as Puducherry. High-speed winds also accompanied the cyclone. Here are more details.
Reports said the landfall began at 11:15 pm, hitting 30 km north of Puducherry and 115 km south of Chennai. The storm weakened into a severe cyclonic storm at 2:30 am, reports TOI. Naturally, the cyclone brought destruction along with it, with a number of trees falling in different areas. Boats of fishermen also split from the mooring along the coastline.
The weather department issued a strict warning about the movement of small ships and motorboats. All fishing activity has been suspended in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and fishermen were advised to stay far from Southwest and Westcentral Bay of Bengal. This morning, the cyclone had wind speeds of 85-95 kmph, gusting to 105 kmph — much lesser than the expected speed of 145 kmph.
From 8:30 am yesterday till 2:30 am today, heavy rainfall was recorded in several parts. At Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Cuddalore, Puducherry, and Chennai, 63 mm, 86 mm, 246 mm, 237 mm, and 89 mm of rains were recorded. In Andhra Pradesh's Tirupati, Nellore, and Kavali, 147 mm, 128 mm, and 63 mm of rainfall was recorded. Andhra CM Jagan Reddy has sounded an alert.
Due to heavy rainfall, water-logging was reported from parts of Tamil Nadu. Residential pockets in Mudichur and Varadharajapuram near Tambaram, were flooded due to increased water levels in the Adyar river. Nearly two lakh people were evacuated from risky places and taken to shelter homes. The government, facing a dual challenge due to the coronavirus pandemic, said it would follow all the precautions.
Though normal life was hit — public transport was disrupted and services at Chennai airport remained suspended till 9 am today — no loss of life was reported. Expressing relief over this, Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister RB Udhayakumar said, "People have given us full cooperation." He revealed that agricultural produce was also unaffected, but walls collapsed in some areas.