Published October 31, 2012 | 8:56 am
Chennai: Cyclone Nilam crossed the Tamil Nadu coast north of Chennai Wednesday evening between Mamallapuram and Kalpakkam with strong winds battering the area, said an official of the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
Speaking to IANS, the official said: “The cyclone started crossing the coast around 4.45 p.m. and it would take around one or two hours to cross the coast.”
According to him, the wind speed was currently at 65 kmph and would touch around 100-110 kmph.
Strong winds earlier made the ship Pratibha Cauvery run aground here.
Mamallapuram, a seventh century port city located near here, is a popular tourist destination for its sculptures and is classified as a Unesco world heritage site.
On the other hand, neighbouring Kalpakkam is known as nuclear island with a couple of test reactors of India Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research and two units of Madras Atomic Power Station.
India’s own 500 MW fast breeder reactor is also being set up at Kalpakkam at an outlay of Rs.5,677 crore.
According to a state government official, around 3,900 people in Mamallapuram have been lodged in 19 relief camps.
Heavy rain in Andhra as Cyclone Nilam nears coast
Many parts of Nellore and Prakasam districts in south coastal Andhra and Chittoor district in Rayalaseema region have been receiving heavy rain accompanied by strong winds since Tuesday night, officials said.
An alert has been sounded in the south coastal districts of Nellore, Guntur, Prakasam and Krishna. The sea conditions have turned rough with high waves lashing the coast in Nellore. The sea water gushed up to 100 metres from shoreline in some villages.
The education department has declared a holiday for educational institutions in Chittoor and Nellore districts. Roads and low-lying areas were inundated – this included the temple town of Tirupati in Chittoor district.
Warning signals were put out at Machilipatnam, Krishnapatnam, Nizampatnam and Vadarevu ports.
According to Visakhapatnam Cyclone Warning centre, Nilam would cross north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast between Puducherry and Nellore Wednesday evening.
The Met Office has warned fishermen against venturing out into the sea. It also advised people in coastal areas to remain indoors and take all precautions at the time of the storm’s landfall.
An Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) bulletin said Nilam was centred about 260 km south-southeast of Chennai at 8.30 a.m. Wednesday.
Gale wind speeds reaching 90 to 100 kmph and even higher would hit north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 24 hours, according to the warning.
Storm surges of about 1 to 1.5 metres over the astronomical tide are likely to inundate low-lying areas of Chennai, Kanchipuram and Tiruvallur of Tamil Nadu as well as Nellore.
Extensive damage to thatched roofs and huts and minor damage to power and communication lines due to uprooting of large avenue trees is feared.