NEW DELHI, Dec 4: Cyclone Michaung, currently swirling over the Bay of Bengal and heading towards the Andhra coast, has unleashed torrential rain upon Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, particularly north coastal Tamil Nadu encompassing Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kancheepuram, Nagapattinam, and Cuddalore districts, with Thiruvallur district bearing the brunt of the downpour on Monday.
Chennai police has reported three deaths in rain-related incidents so far. Most parts of the city remains submerged, with heavy inundation in low-lying areas. Michaung intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Monday lies centred about 100km NE of Chennai and 120km SE of Nellore on Monday afternoon and is likely to make landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday afternoon as a severe cyclonic storm, according to the Indian Meteorological Department.
As heavy rains lashed the city from Sunday night and all of Monday, most city roads were completely underwater. NDRF volunteers seen rescuing people to the safer zones from the flooding waters overflowing from Narayana Puram to Medavakkam lake.
The IMD has warned of heavy to very heavy rainfall on December 4 and 5 in north-coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Light to moderate rainfall at most places and heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places, with extremely heavy falls at isolated places over coastal Andhra Pradesh and Yanam, is expected on December 4 and 5.
Amidst relentless rains lashing Chennai, an adult mugger crocodile was spotted crossing the Perungalathur-Nedungundram road near the state capital, reportedly in the early hours of Monday. A video of the incident surfaced on the internet where a person on a two-wheeler was seen stopping his vehicle after spotting the crocodile. As people started to share the video on X, Supriya Sahu, additional chief secretary, environment, climate change and forests, said there are a few mugger crocodiles in several of the water bodies in the city and the particular crocodile has come out due to rains and there is no harm if it was not provoked.
Over 9,600 people from Cyclone Michaung affected parts of Tamil Nadu on Monday have been moved to 236 relief camps in eight locations as part of precautionary measures. Chief Minister M. K. Stalin, who is monitoring the situation, deputed as many as 13 ministers to coordinate the rescue and relief operations. About 350 boats have been mobilised to evacuate people from inundated areas.
All schools, colleges, and government offices in Chennai and three adjoining districts remained closed on Monday and the state government has urged private companies to allow their employees to work from home. Authorities have set up nearly 5,000 relief centres in coastal districts to assist those affected by the heavy rain that lashed the city and its neighbouring districts overnight. Chief Minister MK Stalin reviewed the safety measures last night and is closely monitoring the situation.
Over 700 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force, State Disaster Response Force, police and fire and rescue departments have been involved in rescuing people in inundated areas, the CM said in a statement. About 250 of them were involved in rescue operations in Chennai. Depending on the need, Coast Guard personnel are also being involved.
Army and a network of 18 ambulances moved persons, including pregnant women, elderly citizens and patients undergoing dialysis and those who needed medical help, to hospitals. The Union Home Minister spoke to Puducherry CM N. Rangasamy and Stalin to take stock of the situation. While T.N. has declared a public holiday in four districts, eight districts of Andhra Pradesh are also on an alert.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has instructed the State government machinery to ensure that there was no loss of life due to the incidents related to inclement weather conditions caused by Cyclone Michaung. “The officials must bear it in mind that farmers do not incur losses due to the cyclone,” said Mr Jagan Mohan Reddy during a review meeting held in virtual mode at his Camp Office at Tadepalli.
Several flights operating from Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati to various destinations were cancelled on Monday. The railways have also cancelled several long-distance trains as a precautionary measure. Heavy to very heavy rain is very likely over isolated places in Mulugu, Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Khammam, Suryapet, Mahabubabad, Warangal, Hanmakonda, Karimnagar, Peddapalli Nalgonda, Jangaon, Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri, Jayashankar Bhupalpally, Siddipet and Nagarkurnool districts of Telangana over the next couple of days, the IMD said.