Cyclone ‘Gaja’ will intensify into a harsh cyclone by this evening but wind down into a conventional cyclone ahead of crossing Chennai-Nagapattinam coast on Thursday morning. India Met Department (IMD) has confirmed that the landfall is likely to occur on the South Tamil Nadu coast. The storm is situated 740 km east-north-east of Chennai this morning.
From Nagapattinam, the place is 840 km to the east-north-east, and the cyclone will shift its west-north-west track from here to west-south-west before intensifying this evening. It will retain it a harsh cyclone’ status until tomorrow evening while sticking to its west-south-west track and aiming for the South Tamil Nadu coast on Thursday.
But on the home stretch, it is forecast to low around back to become a conventional cyclone and barrel towards the coast on the forenoon of Thursday. The US Joint Typhoon Warning Centre has advised that the landfall could happen more towards the South of both Chennai and Puducherry and hints at Nagapattinam and neighborhood as the target area.
As per the IMD, North Coastal Tamil Nadu (including Chennai) and adjoining South Coastal Andhra Pradesh may start receiving rains generated by severe cyclone ‘Gaja’ from Wednesday evening. Most places along the stretch would receive heavy rain before the intensity picks up on Thursday even as the weakened cyclone approaches the coast.
During this phase, most places along North Tamil Nadu may receive rain with high to heavy heavy rain at a few places while it will be extremely heavy (20 cm and above) at certain places. Medium to very heavy rainfall is also indicated for South Coastal Tamil Nadu, South Coastal Andhra Pradesh, and Rayalaseema on Thursday, the day of landfall.
Squally winds with speed reaching 55 km/hr and gusting to 65 km/hr are likely to start a long and off North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts and South Andhra Pradesh from Wednesday evening. These could slowly become gale wind speeds reaching 90 km/hr gusting to 100 km/hr along and off North Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from Wednesday night.
Fishermen, who are in the deep seas, are advised to return home at the earliest. Sea conditions along the coast may turn ‘rough’ to ‘very rough’ (wave heights of 8- to 20 ft) and later ‘high’ (30 ft) into the evening.