Cyclone Burevi has weakened into a deep depression and will cross the Tamil Nadu coast on the morning of December 4, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Thursday. The IMD had earlier predicted that Burevi, which crossed the Sri Lanka coast on Wednesday night, would hit the Tamil Nadu coast as a cyclonic storm.
Deep depression is a stage of cyclone formation or de-intensification. "Cyclonic storm Burevi over Gulf of Mannar weakened into a deep depression on 3rd December and is close to Ramanathapuram district coast, about 20 kilometres southwest of Pamban and 210 km east-northeast of Kanyakumari," the Cyclone Warning Division of the IMD said on Thursday evening.
The associated wind speed is about 55-65 kmph, gusting up to 75 kmph, it added. The deep depression would move west-southwestwards and cross Ramanathapuram and Thoothukudi districts between Thursday night and Friday early morning with a wind speed of 50-60 kmph, gusting up to 70 kmph.
It is also very likely to further weaken into a depression (with a wind speed of 40-50 kmph, gusting up to 60 kmph) by Friday. The IMD has already issued a red alert for south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala.
The international airport in Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram will remain shut for eight hours from 10am from Friday morning and over 2,000 relief camps have been opened with heavy rains expected when cyclone Burevi makes landfall. The district administration has opened 217 relief camps and 15,840 people have been shifted there from disaster-prone areas.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reviewed the situation and asked people to exercise extreme caution till the storm passes. Vijayan, who chaired a high level meeting with senior officials on Thursday, also informed Union Home Minister Amit Shah about the steps being taken by the state to face the situation.
The IMD has predicted that the course of the storm will be through the border areas of Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts and the government, along with various departments and the Army, were ready to face the contingencies, he said.
The IMD has predicted that Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Alappuzha, Idukki and Ernakulam districts would receive heavy rains and wind from December 3 to 5. The CM, who met the media after a high-level meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority and other departments concerned, said telecom operators have been asked to set up a "communication on wheels" facility.
Police, Fire and Rescue forces along with the NDRF teams have been deployed in the event of any emergency situation.
One team each of NDRF personnel have been deployed to the districts of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam districts and two teams in Idukki district, Vijayan said.
"We have requested the Air Force to keep ready the helicopter and the fixed wing aircraft. The Navy has been requested to station the vessels 30 nautical miles in the Arabian Sea and the Army and other paramilitary forces are also on standby," Vijayan said. A defence press release said the armed forces stationed at Thiruvananthapuram were all set to face cyclone Burevi.
Twelve columns of soldiers each consisting of 25 Army personnel are ready at Pangode Military Station. Mi-17 and Sarang helicopters and AN-32 aircraft are placed at Sulur Air Force Station, Coimbatore to face any emergencies.
Coast Guard Station, Vizhinjam deployed two ships and two boats. Southern Air Command Headquarter at Akkulam and Air Force Station at Shangumugham are fully prepared to face any situation, the release said.
Naval and Coast Guard aircraft conducted sorties off the coasts of Thiruvananthapuram and Lakshadweep for overall surveillance and instructed fishermen to go back to the shore immediately. The NDRF team, which had reached Kerala, has inspected the hilly regions and the coastal areas of Thiruvananthapuram.