The severe cyclonic storm ‘Gaja’ crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranniyam early Friday morning with wind speeds gusting up to 120 kmph. The severe cyclonic storm is likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during the next three hours, the latest bulletin released by IMD stated.
Nine people reported dead across Tamil Nadu, as per local media reports. As many as 81,948 people were evacuated from low lying areas and sheltered at over 471 relief centres in six districts including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur.
The weather department earlier recommended complete suspension of fishing operations along the coasts of north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining Andhra Pradesh. The government has also announced helpline numbers 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need assistance. Electricity has been disconnected in the entire Madurai district. Due to cyclonic gust, trees have been uprooted in five places in the city.
Revenue Minister R B Udaya Kumar said that the government has tackled the cyclone situation successfully. “This was a challenging task…we are confident that we have faced it safely 100 per cent” Kumar was quoted saying, adding all post-cyclone tasks like cleaning up storm-affected areas has begun.
District Collectors of Madurai, Dindigul, Theni, Sivagangai, Virudhunagar and Ramnad declared holiday for schools in their respective districts due to rain, as these districts are facing continuous rain with heavy wind. Madurai Kamaraj University postponed all the exams scheduled to be held today.