A ‘yellow alert’ has been alarmed for the Tamil Nadu and South Coastal Andhra Pradesh coasts on Wednesday ahead of the landfall of cyclone ‘Gaja’ expected the day after.
The cyclone has moved westwards and is situated 740 km east-north-east of Chennai and 830 km east-north-east of Nagapattinam, a noon update by India Met Department (IMD) update said.
It would intensify into a ‘severe cyclone’ by tonight and maintain the status during the subsequent 24 hours (into tomorrow) and move in a west-southwestward direction. It is in time of this phase that ‘Gaja’ would start weakening, ahead of crossing the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore as a conventional cyclone during the forenoon of Thursday. Squally winds with speed reaching up to 55 km/hr gusting to 65 km/hr may start along and off the North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining South Andhra Pradesh coasts from tomorrow morning.
These may higher gradually to gale-wind speeds reaching up to 90 km/hr gusting to 100 km/hr along and off the North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts tomorrow night onwards. Meanwhile, the US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre has continued to rule out the weakening of the storm and indicates that the landfall would be stamped by winds of much higher speed and intensity.
A storm surge of a height of about one meter above the astronomical tide may inundate the low-lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall. Associated damage is expected over districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram and Karaikal districts.