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Cyclone Nilam weakens, search on for missing sailors

Nov 01, 2012 07:55 AM IST India India

Chennai: Cyclone Nilam, which hit the Tamil Nadu coast near Mahabalipuram on Wednesday evening, has weakened. The cyclone left one person dead. A crew member of a stranded ship drowned after a life boat carrying him and 21 others capsized in choppy waters off Besant Nagar locality in south Chennai in high velocity winds just hours before the cyclone hit the coast.

The Met department says Nilam could weaken, with less rain expected in the next 24 hours. Wind speeds went up to 100 kilometre per hour in some areas when the cyclone made landfall. Around 3,500 people have been evacuated from Mahabalipuram. Meanwhile, five coastal districts in Andhra Pradesh are still on alert.

The arrival of the cyclone led to rainfall at most places. Heavy to very heavy rainfall would also occur over south coastal Andhra Pradesh and Rayalaseema during the next 48 hours, according to the Met department. Larger-than-usual tidal waves would inundate the low-lying areas of Nellore district, the sources added. The cyclone was expected to cause minor damage to power and communication lines, and also to the standing rice and groundnut crops.

According to state officials around 100 trees and some electric poles collapsed due to the strong winds. Meanwhile, it has also been raining continuously in Bangalore for the past 36 hours. The maximum temperature has dropped to eight degrees below normal and the city witnessed 8 mm rainfall over the past 24 hours. The Met department has predicted moderate rainfall in Bangalore for the next two days. Cities like Mysore, Mangalore, Gulbarga and Gadag will witness light to moderate rainfall over the next two days.

"The storm crossed the coast between 4 pm and 6 pm Strong winds will continue for another six hours and by Thursday morning everything will calm down," YEA Raj, deputy director general, India Meteorological Department (IMD) told IANS. Nevertheless the Tamil Nadu government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in the coastal districts Thursday.

"We are experiencing strong winds and not rains. We have not received any complaints about loss of life or damage to properties," a police official in Kalpakkam told IANS over phone. Mamallapuram, a seventh century port city located near here, is a popular tourist destination for its sculptures and is classified as a Unesco world heritage site.

On the other hand, neighbouring Kalpakkam is known as nuclear island with a couple of test reactors of India Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and two units of Madras Atomic Power Station. According to Raj wind speed touched 75 kmph here and 65 kmph at Kalpakkam.

The absence of rain and relative slow wind speed than expectation helped in a major way to reduce the damage, said a state government official. According to government officials, the extent of damage will be known Thursday. Chennai Corporation had made arrangements to remove the fallen trees immediately. Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa reviewed the preventive measures to be taken during the storm while ordering adequate stocks of essential items at relief centres.

There was no loss of life or property reported from any of the districts in south coastal Andhra Pradesh. Electricity supply was disrupted in villages under 16 mandals in Nellore district due strong winds. Heavy rains lashed Nellore, Prakasam, Guntur and Chittoor districts. In Hyderabad, minister for revenue, relief and rehabilitation Raghuveera Reddy, who reviewed the situation with officials Wednesday evening, said the state was not facing any major threat.

The minister, however, said the south coastal districts and the Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region were on alert and taking all measures to prevent loss of life and property. The government deputed three senior officials to Nellore, Chittoor and Prakasam districts to supervise the relief operations. A team of 47 personnel from National Disaster Response Force were sent to Nellore to take up rescue operations, if required.

The minister said there were no reports of any crop damage. He told reporters that 61 mandals received four cm rainfall during last 24 hours. He said the rains under the influence of the cyclone had benefitted the farmers.

(With additional information from PTI and IANS)


[View the story ”Images: Cyclone Nilam” on Storify]

Satellite image of cyclone Nilam

Latest satellite image of cyclone Nilam

Cyclone Nilam – observed and forecast track

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