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School, colleges shut in parts of Tamil Nadu ahead of Cyclone Gaja

November 16, 2018

With Cyclone Gaja expected to make a landfall between Cuddalore and Pamban on Thursday night, schools and colleges in the area were shut as safety measure.

Weather authorities said that the cyclone was likely to intensify.

It is very likely to move west-southwestwards and intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm. While moving west-southwestwards thereafter, it is likely to weaken and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore, around Nagapattinam with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph. - Indian Meteorological Department

Heavy rainfall was seen in many parts of Tamil Nadu like Puducherry and the coastal districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukkottai, Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin. However, Chennai was spared with mostly isolated rainfall. A holiday for schools and colleges was declared and examinations were deferred.

Indian Railways cancelled all the train services in the districts, which were likely to be affected. There was warning of damage to huts, rooftops and power and communication lines.

State Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said the state government has taken all precautionary measures.

"Eight National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams and seven squads of the state disaster response force have been dispatched to the affected areas. Besides setting up a 24-hour control room in Chennai, we have directed the district collectors to form rescue teams. Cyclone management committees have been formed in all the 2,559 vulnerable places. 410 zonal teams are also in place."

Over 300 mobile medical teams, 315 veterinary medical teams, motor pumps, swimmers, snake catchers were also put on standby for help.

The Indian Navy has been put on high alert and asked to offer all help if needed. Two Indian Naval ships, Ranvir and Khanjar, were on standby to undertake humanitarian aid and distress relief.

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