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Cyclone Michaung to make landfall in Andhra soon, 8 dead in Chennai rains

Chennai, Dec 05, 2023: Cyclone Michaung (pronounced migjaum) is likely to make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam, close to Bapatla, in Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday at 11 am as the severe cyclonic storm continues to intensify over the Bay of Bengal. The weather system brought in heavy bouts of rain in several places across Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, and Tamil Nadu in the past couple of hours.



In Chennai, heavy rainfall due to the influence of Cyclone Michaung, roads turned into rivers and vehicles were swept away on Monday, forcing authorities to declare educational institutions shut. Private offices asked their employees to work from home till the situation improves. The rainfall, coupled with strong winds, brought down trees, walls and electric poles. Eight people were killed in the Tamil Nadu capital in rain-related incidents.

Floodwaters entered government hospitals, resulting in the temporary suspension of healthcare services, while there were cases of waterlogging at metro stations. Videos of a mugger crocodile crossing a submerged road also went viral on social media. The continuous downpour resulted in power outages and internet disruptions.

The cyclone took a hit on transportation services, with several trains and flights cancelled. The Chennai airport runway was flooded as no flights were available till 9 am on Tuesday, causing chaos and inconvenience to passengers.

In its latest communication via X, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said, “Severe cyclonic storm Michaung over west-central Bay of Bengal off south Andhra Pradesh and adjoining north Tamil Nadu coasts moved north-northwestwards with a speed of 7 kmph during past 6 hours and lay centered at 2:30 am about 20 km north-northeast of Nellore, 170 km north of Chennai, 150 km south of Bapatla and 210 km south-southwest of Machilipatnam. As the system is nearly moving northwards close to coast, some parts of the wall cloud region lies over land.”

“Likely to move nearly northwards parallel and close to south Andhra Pradesh coast and cross south Andhra Pradesh coast between Nellore and Machilipatnam, close to Bapatla during forenoon of December 5 (Tuesday) as a severe cyclonic storm,” the IMD added.

Here are the top developments of Cyclone Michaung:

1. The Tamil Nadu government declared a public holiday on Monday and Tuesday in Chennai, Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur and Chengalpattu districts, even as the intensity of rainfall slightly decreased by the night. In the past 24 hours, Perungudi in Chennai received 29 cm of rainfall, while Avadi in Tiruvallur district recorded 28 cm, and Mamallapuram in Chengalpet received 22 cm.

2. The IMD has issued a light thunderstorm and lightning with moderate rain warning for Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Ranipet, Vellore, Tirupattur, Thiruvannamalai, Villupuram and Kanyakumari districts in Tamil Nadu for the next three hours.

3. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin said on Monday that his government was taking all necessary measures on a war-footing to provide relief in the wake of Cyclone Michaung disrupting normal life.

He said relief measures in rain-affected areas were being implemented immediately, with various department personnel, including police, fire, and rescue, being deployed in large numbers as a preventive mechanism.

4. Stalin said nearly 8,590 electricity board personnel, supervised by Electricity Minister Thangam Thennarasu, were engaged in electricity restoration works in the rain-affected districts.

To assist residents in low-lying areas, the Chief Minister stated that 350 boats were prepared for rescue operations, while 4,320 doctors were posted to provide treatment and curb the spread of rain-related diseases.

5. The Tamil Nadu government has set up a total of 236 relief camps across eight locations in the state, providing food, water, and other basic amenities to 9,634 people to date. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, on Monday, made inquiries on the damage wrought by the heavy showers amid the approaching cyclone while also taking stock of the ongoing relief and rescue operations and the state’s preparedness to deal with the immediate aftermath of the storm. He also enquired about the food and other facilities provided to civilians sheltered in relief camps during a phone call to state ministers Sekar Babu, KN Nehru, and EV Velu and DMK MLAs Dr Ezhilan, Karunanidhi, E Parandaman and S Arvind Ramesh.

6. Rainfall also battered neighbouring Andhra Pradesh as the MeT department warned of more heavy downpour, accompanied by gales in parts of the state over the next three days. Due to incessant rainfall, the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) has temporarily denied permission for devotees to bathe in the Sri Kapilathirtham waterfalls.

7. The Railway Ministry has set up an emergency control cell in Chennai and a war room at the Rail Bhawan in New Delhi among various other measures to meet the challenges posed by the Cyclone Michaung.

"The Indian Railways as part of its preparedness for cyclone-related disaster management has set up an emergency control cell at the divisional/headquarter level with officers from operating, commercial, engineering, electrical, signal/telecommunications, security, etc. branches in each shift to monitor round the clock and take necessary action in connection with train operations," the ministry said in a statement.

8. Southern Railways and other concerned zones have also issued a list of general instructions and emergency contact numbers for the masses in case of any exigency, including phone numbers of railway officials, medical teams, emergency vehicles, commercial control for public enquiry, tower wagon drivers along with list of DG sets, pumps and submersible sewage pumps available at various stations.

According to the instructions, the Railways’ main focus would be on the prevention of loss of life and on minimising the damage to Railway assets.

9. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday said he spoke to the Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry on the situation arising due to Cyclone Michaung and assured them of all necessary help from the Centre.

Shah also said adequate deployment of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel has already been made and additional teams were ready for further assistance.

10. Raja Babu, District Collector of Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district, said all preventive measures were taken to ensure no loss of life and property in Krishna district, where Machilipatnam is located.

He said 57 relief camps in seven coastal mandals were set up and people were moved from low-lying areas to the relief camps. He said the relief camps will be adequately stocked with food, medicines and accommodation.

"Financial assistance will be provided to those who come to the relief camp as per government orders. We will provide Rs 1,000 for those who come single and Rs 2,000 for family," Raja Babu said.

11. "Airfield closed for arrival and departure operations till 0900 hrs IST tomorrow due to adverse weather conditions," the Chennai airport authority informed through a post on X.

Subways have been closed due to severe waterlogging in Chennai, the police informed further, adding that traffic movement was also suspended from Manjambakkam to Vadaperumbakkam Road because of the release of water from Puzhal Lake.

"DDRT Teams are available in all vulnerable areas and they are working in coordination with the GCC and Highways Department," the police informed further on X.

12. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and took stock of the preparations to tackle Cyclone Michaung, officials said, adding that the former assured all help to the latter in dealing with the aftermath of the cyclone.

13. The administration in Odisha’s Gajapati has issued a notice stating, "In wake of possible heavy rainfall due to cyclonic storm Michaung over the Bay of Bengal, all the primary, upper primary, high school, and anganwadi centres shall remain closed on December 6."

Courtesy: India Today

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