Cyclone Gaja Updates: All you need to know.
Cyclone Gaja Updates: All you need to know. | Credit: National Herald

Cyclone Gaja Updates: All you need to know.

Nov 16, 2018

As Cyclone Gaja made landfall rain around 1:40 am, with its “eye” reaching coastal region between Vedaranyam and Nagapattinam, the intensity of the winds reduced for a brief period – as per the Indian Meteorological Department. The cyclone is likely to move west-south westwards.

The meteorological department has predicted that the storm would further intensify into a severe storm during the next 24 hours and the intensity during subsequent day. However, while moving towards west – south westwards towards the coast, it is likely to lose strength and cross north Tamil Nadu between Chennai and Nagapattinam as a cyclonic storm during November 15 morning.

The Indian Meteorological Department bulletin in the morning said that the ‘severe cyclonic storm’ had weakened into a ‘cyclonic storm’ and that the storm would take another two hours to completely cross over the land. It is expected to rain at least for the next 24 hours.

The current speed of the wind is estimated at 80 to 90 km per hour gusting to 100 km per hour. The entire eye wall region still lies across the land, said the weather department. It added: “It’s very likely to move nearly westwards and weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm during next six hours. Though center of cyclone lies over land, rear sector of eye wall is still over sea. It will take about an hour to move-over land.” 

Nagapattinam has been identified as the worst affected district, with the maximum rainfall of 48.4 mm as of Friday morning. Karaikkal in Puducherry which is about 30 kilometres from Nagapattinam has been noted to be heavily impacted. 

Revenue minister R B Udhayakumar said that while the storm has created chaos in the cauvery delta districts, the actual impact could be assessed only when the cyclone has completely weakened and moved away from the land. 

Educational institutions have declared a holiday in Nagapattinam.

Cyclone Gaja lashed Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam and Thanjavur during the storm’s landfall, uprooting trees across the coastal region. Electricity supply in several towns in the coast has been disconnected including in Nagapattinam as a precautionary measure, said officials. 

National Disaster Response Force engaged four teams – deploying them in Nagapattinam in flood recovery and two teams of Tamil Nadu’s state disaster response force in Cuddalore.

To raise awareness on the do’s and don’ts during the storm, the state disaster management authority released an animated video. A helpline has also been published by the Tamil Nadu government – 1077 for districts and 1070 at state-level.

Some officials spoke to the media that the sea condition is likely to remain rough to very rough near Tamil Nadu and south of Andhra Pradesh coastal regions from November 14th and intensify from November 15th night.

The weather department has issued an advisory asking the fishermen from both the states to not venture into the sea – central Bay of Bengal, and central part of the south Bay of Bengal between November 12th and 13th and into the southwest and along west central Bay of Bengal during November 13th to 15th.

JWTC - The US Joint Typhoon warning centre has confirmed the change in the path of Cyclone Gaja’ further 270 kilometres south of Tamil Nadu’s capital city and now, a very likely crossing point near Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu – with a high intensity of 110 km per hour approximately.

Buses stopped service on November 15th evening, whereas train services were partially suspended in some regions and fully suspended in the rest of the regions. 

There has been no immediate information on the magnitude of loss to the state’s infrastructure and on loss of life. A government official said the loss of life and extent of damage would be known only after tomorrow morning.