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25 Nov 2020 | 02:19 PM UTC

India: Authorities close Chennai airport as Cyclone Nivar makes landfall over northern Tamil Nadu November 25 /update 2

Authorities close Chennai International Airport (MAA) as Cyclone Nivar makes landfall over northern Tamil Nadu on November 25; monitor weather updates and heed authority directives

environment
transportation
IND

Event

Cyclone Novar made landfall late on Wednesday, November 25, between Marakkanam (Tamil Nadu state) and Puducherry as a very severe cyclonic storm. The cyclone was carrying winds between 120 and 130 kph (75-81 mph), with gusts of up to 145 kph (90 mph), and is forecast to bring extremely heavy rainfall to northern Tamil Nadu and Puducherry into Thursday, November 26, and will also affect parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana states as it tracks inland. The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast that coastal areas of Tamil Nadu could see a storm surge of up to 1.1m (3.6ft), which could increase the risk of flooding posed by the rainfall. Damages to crops, thatched roofs, poorly constructed buildings are possible and some trees and power lines are expected to be downed by the storm.

Authorities have evacuated over 145,000 people from low-lying areas into 1516 shelters across Tamil Nadu as a precaution ahead of the storm, with the most evacuations taking place in the districts of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam south of Chennai. A public holiday has been declared in some areas on Wednesday and Thursday so that people can stay inside and shelter from the storm and fishermen have been advised not to venture out. Flights were suspended at Chennai International Airport (MAA) from 19:00 (local time) on Wednesday until 07:00 on Thursday. Vessels at the city's port have been moved to sea, with port operations likely to be suspended until the cyclone has passed. Southern Railway has also canceled some of its services on Thursday.

Further associated disruptions to transport, business, and utilities are possible over the coming days as the storm system passes.

Context

India's coastlines are susceptible to cyclones from April through December. Tropical disturbances can and have caused significant human casualties and widespread damage, primarily from flooding but also from wind damage.

Advice

Those in affected areas are advised to monitor weather reports, confirm road conditions before heading out, avoid areas directly hit by flooding, and adhere to any directives or advice issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

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