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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cyclone Nilam crosses - makes landfall near Mahabalipuram

The cyclonic storm ‘Nilam’ intensified into a severe storm and made the landfall an hour ago – around 16.45 pm today.

It was not Cuddalore or Pondicherry but earlier reports put the place as between Cuddalore and Nellore, which is quite a vast area – more importantly, Chennai city lies in between.  There were reports that the Nuclear plant at Kalpakkam was put on high alert and the situation was closely watched as there was some anxiety of the plant withstanding a very high assault by the wind with velocity more than 160 kmph. 

Chennai corporation commissioner D Karthikeyan  advised people to stay indoors – schools had already been closed, many Offices worked in the first half only and more permitted their employees to leave by 3 pm.   Even before cyclone struck, trees were uprooted in many places.  The fallen tree branches caused disruption to traffic – which were being removed very fastly by the Corporation workers with the help from local people.

Now there are reports that the cyclonic storm Nilam crossed the shore and made landfall at Mahaballipuram, south of the Tamil Nadu capital at about 4.30 pm today.  Mahabalipuram, derived from 'Mamallapuram'  the 7th century port city of the South Indian dynasty of the Pallavas lies  around 60 km south from the city of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. The name Mamallapuram is believed to have been given after the Pallava king Narasimhavarman I, who took on the epithet Maha-malla (great wrestler), as the favourite sport of the Pallavas was wrestling. It has various historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries, and has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As the cyclone made landfall, windspeed went up to about 100 km per hour. Puducherry and south Chennai have been affected. Low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu like Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts face the threat of inundation. Damages to property is not yet known.

In Chennai, 282 schools will serve as relief centres. Community kitchens have also been arranged. Cyclone shelters have been organised in Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts with essential supplies. The government plans to send generators and sand bags to vulnerable areas in the districts.  More rain fall is predicted in the coming hours. 

There are reports that after 5 pm  Chennai Mass Rapid Transport System  stopped its operations.  At some stages,  the system runs on elevated railway line, especially between Chepauk to Lighthouse are closer to the beach and the stoppage was in apprehension of strongwinds disrupting and overhead wires snapping. 

Today, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa reviewed the cyclone situation with her cabinet colleagues and senior officials and directed them to ensure all essential commodities are made available.  She directed that a holiday be declared for all educational institutions in the coastal districts tomorrow and asked officials to take up relief measures, including providing affected persons food and shelter, besides evacuating citizens from low-lying areas.

Despite, Police and Corporation asking the people to stay indoors, hundreds of people gathered at Marina to watch the action of winds and waves.  Here are a couple of photos taken at beach at around 1700 hrs

With regards – S. Sampthkumar # 17.20 hrs.  


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