Nilam lands at Mahabalipuram on Tamil Nadu coast

Over 4,000 people evacuated to relief camps

By M Suchitra
Published: Wednesday 31 October 2012

Cyclonic storm Nilam hit India’s south-east coast at Mahabalipuram about 55 km south of Chennai in Tamil Nadu. It made a landfall at 5.37 pm on October 31. About 4,000 people have been evacuated to relief camps from Mahabalipuram. No loss of life has been reported so far. ´╗┐

As predicted by the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the storm brought heavy showers and raging winds in its wake. Mahabalipuram was lashed by winds blowing at a speed of 110 km per hour. In Chennai, Puducherry, Cuddalore and Nagapatinam, the wind speed was as high as 100 km per hour.  Hundreds of trees were uprooted. Nellore and Chittoor, the southern districts of Andhra Pradesh, too, experienced strong winds and heavy rains. Heavy crop loss is expected. 

The impact
  • Cyclone Nilam made landfall in Mahabalipuram in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu, around 55 km south of Chennai at 5.37 pm

  • Mahabalipuram is a tourist spot and most hotels in the area have been closed

  • Reports indicate that a ship, Prathiba Cauvery, has been grounded at the Besant Nagar beach in Chennai because of the cyclone

IMD is closely monitoring the intensity and course of the cyclone—whether it travels landwards or along the coast. The intensity of the winds is expected to weaken in a few hours. High tides are expected in the night. National disaster relief forces are ready in case of emergency. Fisher people have been warned against venturing into the sea.

In Chennai, people have been asked to stay indoors. The city started experiencing strong winds from 3 pm when the cyclone was about 160 km off the shore.  The State Disaster Response Force, under the additional director general of police, were kept waiting in a state of preparedness. About 300 schools and community centres have been kept ready to receive people, if evacuated.  City shops and other establishments were shut ahead of the storm. 

Though Nilam is not as severe as cyclone Thane that hit the same coast last December, killing over 40 people and leaving a trail of destruction across Tamil Nadu, government agencies in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh were prepared for the worst eventuality. Cyclone shelters and control rooms were opened. Schools, colleges and cargo operations at the port were shut.

Cyclone Nilam headed for the Indian coast after flooding Sri Lanka. At least 4,000 affected people are living in relief camps in Sri Lanka.



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