Toll rises to nine in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari and Kerala; rains, winds expected to intensify

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Cyclone Ockhi, that killed four people in coastal Kerala and five in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari district as of Friday, is moving west­northwestwards towards Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea today, where it is likely to intensify further during the next 24 hours and then move north/northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours.

The IMD office said that the cyclone has moved away from Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram. Heavy rain is expected in south Kerala for the next 24 hours and south Tamil Nadu for the next 12 hours. Schools in the coastal districts in the two states have been closed. Over 80 fishermen from coastal villages in Kerala’s Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram remain missing and are suspected to be stranded at sea. Chennai can expect moderate and intermittent spells of rain on Friday.

Here are all the latest updates:

  • #CycloneOckhi moves to the Arabian Sea. #Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan says steps initiated to rescue #fishermen stranded in rough sea. — Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 1, 2017
  • JUST IN: 5 people dead, 22 fishermen missing, 62 houses fully damaged, 240 houses partly damaged due to heavy rains, in Kanyakumari district. 16 rehabilitation centres established by government in which 1044 people are being given shelter. (ANI)
  • Lakshadweep is on high alert.
  • Ockhi can lead to cloudy weather coupled with light rain for some parts along Maharashtra coast and Mumbai next week, reports said. The IMD has issued warning to all ports. Skymet predicted that there will be light rains in Saurashtra and Kutch region of Gujarat as well.
  • Thiruvananthapuram saw a respite from incessant rains Friday morning. Several trains to and from Thiruvananthapuram were either delayed, cancelled or re-scheduled, say TV reports.
  • Tamil Nadu CM K Palaniswami announces Rs 5 lakh compensation to kin of the five deceased in Kanyakumari district due to rain-related incidents.
  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said there were serious lapses from the side of state disaster management department. The alert from Hyderabad was not sent to the Government on time, reports ANI.
  • Indian Navy’s Advanced Light Helicopter has dropped a life a liferaft for 8 survivors at sea 20nm off Trivandrum and is picking up two critically injured survivors from MV Energy Orpheus. Naval Seaking helicopter being launched shortly to recover 8 survivors & additional SAR.
  • Boeing P8I Aircraft deployed at first light from INS Rajali this morning sights 7 survivors hanging on to a capsized boat ~25 miles West of Tivandrum. A/c drops life raft in the vicinity and reported the exact position. Ships in area are being diverted to render assistance: Indian Navy
  • Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has spoken to the DG of NDRF and reviewed the situation in areas affected by Cyclone Ockhi. NDRF teams have already been moved to the affected areas. More teams are on standby to respond to any further emergencies. The Home Affairs ministry is closely monitoring the situation, according to a the HMO, reports ANI.
  • A cyclone alert has been issued across the coastal regions in north Kerala as MET has predicted cyclone Ockhi will reach this part of the state also.
  • Nearly 200 fishing boats, which left Kochi coast in the last couple of days, are yet to return. Joseph Xavier, general secretary, All Kerala Fishing Boat Operators Association, said, “Usually, we used to receive advance warnings on the weather. But this time, there was no such notification.” This is a matter of concern, given there were reports about the arrival of the cyclone at least two days ago,” he said. Since most of the boats are co-owned by people belonging to Tamil Nadu and most of the workers are also from that state, it is also possible that the fishermen might have taken the boats to Colachel, Muttom and Thengapattanam, said Xavier.
  • Kerala: Fishermen in Trivandrum go missing. Relatives say they received no warnings of Cyclone Ockhi from the government.
  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held an emergency meeting of top officials to take stock of the situation and has asked police and revenue officials to be on high alert, reports IANS.
  • Balakrishnan Nair, scientist at INCOIS, said that the storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides are very likely to inundate low-lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands from Thursday night and 0.5 metre surge will inundate low-lying areas of coastal districts of south Kerala (Alappuzha, Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram districts), and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu (Kanniyakumari, Thoothukudi and Tirunelveli districts).
  • Four people were killed in Kerala on Thursday as heavy rains and strong winds lashed southern part of the state after cyclonic storm Ockhi hit the Kerala coast.
  1. One person was killed when a tree fell on his autorickshaw at Kulathupuzha in Kollam
  2. A couple at Kattakkada in Thiruvananthapuram was electrocuted when power cables fell over them
  3. Trees and hoardings collapsed in the strong wind, which also blew away thatched roofs and roofing sheets of houses
  4. The State Disaster Management Authority has issued alert to Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Idukki and Kottayam districts
  • Four people died today in Kanyakumari as heavy rains and strong winds uprooted trees, snapped power lines and damaged settlements close to the sea in Kanyakumari-Nagercoil-Thoothukudi region in south Tamil Nadu. Schools in seven districts of the state including Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Kanyakumari and Virudhunagar were closed today.
  • Two National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams with 60 personnel have been sent to Kanyakumari. Another team of 47 will be on standby in Kochi in Kerala to help out in Lakshadweep if the need arises.
  • Heavy rains have caused chaos and destruction in districts of Kerala since Wednesday. Thiruvananthapuram woke up this morning to a sustained heavy drizzle and heavily overcast skies, which hit rush hour traffic in the state’s capital city. One death has been reported in the state so far. An autorickshaw driver on the outskirts of Kollam was killed today after a tree fell on his vehicle.
  • The Southern Naval Command is also gearing up for any Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief that may be required due to the effects of the storm in the southern part of Kerala.
  • Southern Naval Command deployed 3 ships & 2 aircraft following request by District Collector, Trivandrum for assistance in search of 6 fishing boats with fisherman & 1 Marine Engineering vessel missing near Vizhinjam, due to cyclonic storm developed in Indian Ocean off Kerala.
  • S Balachandran, Director, Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai, said southern districts in Tamil Nadu such as Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga and Virudhunagar will get heavy to very heavy rainfall till December 1.
  • Cyclone Ockhi is not expected to make a landfall in Tamil Nadu.
  • For north coastal Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, the skies would be generally cloudy and light to moderate spells of rain can be expected. Chennai received up to 6 cm of rain between 8:30 last night and 8:30 this morning.
  • As far as fishermen are concerned, those in Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, Rameswaram, have been asked not to venture out into sea till December 1, Thursday as the wind speed will be 65-70 kmph, meaning the sea will be rough along and off south Tamil Nadu, south Kerala coasts and Lakshadweep Islands.
  • The weather office has also predicted dense fog in places in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura.
  • Cyclone ‘Ockhi’ (meaning: eye) was a name contributed by Bangladesh.
  • With a speed of 38 kmph at 8:30 Thursday morning, the cyclone lay centred about 340 km west-northwest of Galle in Sri Lanka, 60 Km south of Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and 120 km southwest of Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala and 480 km east­southeast of Minicoy in Lakshadweep. It has moved west-northwestwards towards Lakshadweep Islands in the southeast Arabian Sea. Lakshadweep is an archipelago of 12 atolls, three reefs and five submerged banks lying 200 to 400 km to the West of the South-West coast (Kerala) of India.
  • Cyclone Ockhi is approaching the Lakshadweep archipelago, a top official at the Ministry of Earth Sciences said in Delhi today. Madhavan Rajeevan, secretary in the ministry, said the archipelago in the southern part of the Arabian Sea will start experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from tomorrow. “It will hit the islands on December 2,” Rajeevan said. (PTI)
  • Earlier today, the US Navy’s Joint Typhoon Warning Centre (JTWC) had put out an alert saying that the system could intensify further to become a severe cyclonic storm. It further said the storm could re-curve towards the Mumbai-Gujarat region on the West Coast, after being influenced by an incoming western disturbance from the opposite direction.
  • Heavy rainfall and storms in Tamil Nadu in the first week of November this year killed at least 12 people and thousands took shelter in relief camps, triggering fears of the 2015 floods repeat. It had killed more than 400 people, displaced lakhs and damaged property worth thousands of crores.

What is a tropical depression

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) classifies the low pressure systems in the Bay of Bengal and in the Arabian Sea into seven categories. Low pressure areas with maximum sustained surface wind speeds between 31 and 61 kmph are called tropical depressions. Once the winds around the low pressure area reach at least 62 kmph, it is called a tropical cyclone and is assigned a name. The current system is intensifying rapidly. As per the IMD wind warning, squally winds would reach 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph along and off south Tamil Nadu during the next 48 hours.

Another depression kicking-in

The trough of low pressure over the Malay Peninsula and neighbourhood is persisting and is likely to develop into a low-pressure area over Malay Peninsula and adjoining south Andaman Sea during the next 24 hours. This system is likely to trigger a wet spell for the north coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, including Chennai, around December 4.

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