Gaja: All you need to know about this cyclonic storm

After Cyclone Titli wreaked havoc in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh on October 11, killing around 70 people, now the Cyclonic storm Gaja will cross Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Pamban on November 15. The MeT has also issued cyclone Gaja alert to the neighbouring union territory of Puducherry.

About Cyclone Gaja

A red alert has already been issued to coastal districts in the state. According to the IMD, the state will witness rainfall between November 14 and 16. Heavy to very heavy rains can be expected in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Karaikaal, Cuddalore and Villupuram. The wind speeds in this region can vary between 80-110 km/hour. The seas have been deemed too rough for any fishing activities till November 15. Storm surge of height of about 1.0 metre is very likely to inundate low lying areas of Nagappattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall. The IMD said Gaja was likely to weaken gradually and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Cuddalore and Pamban as a cyclonic storm on November 15 forenoon.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in a bulletin on Tuesday said Gaja has been moving westwards with a speed of five kmph in the past six hours. At 5.30 a.m., the cyclonic storm was centred about 750 km east of here and 840 km east-northeast of Nagappattinam. The IMD also warned of major damage to thatched huts and houses. “Roof tops may blow off …damage to power and communication lines,” it said adding standing crops could also be hit and cautioned sea water intrusion in low lying areas.

What arrangements have been made by the Tamil Nadu government?

Revenue Minister R B Udaya Kumar said 30,500 rescue personnel were on standby while arrangements had been made for food and shelter at relief centres for those in low lying areas. Across the state, a total of 4,399 locations have been identified as vulnerable and teams have been deployed for rescue, he told reporters. Also, teams of the National and State Disaster Response Forces are ready for deployment. Vigil is being kept in coastal districts and meetings have been held to review preparedness, he said. Coastal and vulnerable districts including Cuddalore and Nagapattinam have been advised high alert, Udaya Kumar said.

Arrangements by Puducherry government

Puducherry Revenue and Industries Minister M O H F Shah Jahan said the union territory has been put on high alert. Services of NDRF personnel will be requisitioned if warranted, he said after a review meeting with top officials. Banners, billboards should be removed considering safety, he said. The Minister appealed to people to not trust fake information on social media.