As cyclone Michaung is all set to make landfall between Chennai and Machilipatnam on December 5, Chennai and the adjoining districts of Kanchipuram and Thiruvallur will continue to receive heavy to very heavy rains with strong wind. Rain which began at midnight continues to wreak havoc in Chennai.
As per the weather update from the Indian Meteorological Department, “Cyclone Michaung lays centred over West central and adjoining Southwest Bay of Bengal, off south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining North Tamil Nadu coasts, about 110km east-northeast of Chennai, 190km southeast of Nellore, 210km northeast of Puducherry, 310km south-southeast of Bapatla and 330km southeast of Machilipatnam at 05.30 hrs Dec 4. Likely to move north-northwestwards, intensify and cross between Nellore and Machilipatnam, close to Bapatla during forenoon of December 5 as SCS.”
Michaung has led to very heavy rains in Chennai since December 3. As per the Met department’s report, moderate thunderstorms and lightning with moderate rain and intense spells at times have been predicted at many places over Thiruvallur, Chennai, Chengalpattu and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu. The rains are expected to lash Chennai and the adjoining districts of Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur until December 5, while the other districts adjoining Chennai, coastal districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Puducherry will have moderate rains. Other districts of Tamil Nadu including Vellore, Ranipet, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram, Myladuthurai, Thanjavur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Kallakurichi, Thirupatthur, Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri, Salem, Namakkal, Trichy and Thiruvarur will also witness moderate rains in the next three hours.
Michaung is expected to make landfall between Chennai and Machilipatnam. This is the fourth tropical cyclone of the year over the Bay of Bengal.
Eleven express trains from Chennai Central were cancelled during the early hours of Monday. The water level has reached the danger mark at Bridge number 14--the bridge connecting Vyasarpadi and Basin Bridge leading to the central station--due to heavy rains. Trains arriving from different parts of the country to Chennai Central were first stopped near Avadi, and were allowed to proceed to Chennai Central Station till 7am, but, passengers got stranded. “In view of heavy rain and the water crossing the danger level in bridge number 14, between Basin bridge and Vyasarpadi stations, trains have been regulated. We regret the inconvenience caused,” the Divisional Railway Manager, Chennai, Southern Railway said.
The heavy downpour since midnight of December 4 has led to massive waterlogging in several parts of Chennai. All the subways in the city have been closed. Metro train services in Chennai began their services as usual at 5am. Excess water in the two-wheeler parking area of the metro stations were pumped out.
The state government urged private companies to allow its employees in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram and Chengalpattu districts to work from home due to cyclone Michaung and inundation in most parts of Chennai. “Essential services such as milk supply and healthcare facilities have been operational,” according to the government authorities. At least 685 people from vulnerable areas in Tiruvallur, Chennai, Kancheepuram and Chengalpet districts have been moved to at least 11 relief camps. The government has set up 121 multi-purpose centres and 4,967 relief camps with all basic amenities in the northern and other coastal regions of the state. Relief camps have also been set up in the Cauvery Delta areas.
A total of 14 teams with 350 personnel of the Tamil Nadu Disaster Response Force and 225 personnel in 11 teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been pressed to work in the coastal districts of Chennai, Kanchipuram, Thiruvallur, Myladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Thiruvallur, Cuddalore and Villupuram.
Chief Minister and Ministers at work
Meanwhile, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and his cabinet colleagues have been on the ground reviewing the situation. Stalin reviewed the preparatory measures at the state emergency operation centre.