Cyclonic storm 'Nilam' today brought heavy rains in several parts of North Tamil Nadu, affecting normal life.
As the deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into the cyclone and remained practically stationary, centred at about 450 kms south-southeast of Chennai and 130 kms north-northeast of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, the city and several parts of the state experienced incessant rains since morning.
The storm is expected to cross the coast between Cuddalore in the state and Nellore in Andhra Pradesh tomorrow.
The system would move north-northwestwards and cross north Tamil Nadu and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coast between Cuddalore and Nellore near Chennai by tomorrow evening, an update issued by the Met office said.
The rains today badly hit life in the city inundating low-lying areas and affecting traffic while educational institutions remained closed. The state government has declared a holiday for schools and colleges in coastal districts for tomorrow.
Under the influence of the cyclone, isolated heavy to very heavy rainfall would occur over coastal Tamil Nadu and Puducherry during the next 12 hours, the MeT office said.
The intensity of rainfall would increase thereafter with scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall and isolated extremely heavy rainfall (25 cm or more) for subsequent 24 hours.
"Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph would prevail along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during next 12 hours," the weather office said, adding that wind speed would gradually increase as the system comes closer to the coast.
Sea condition will be very rough to high along and off north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during the next 48 hours. Fishers in these areas have been advised not to venture into the sea.
The weather office also forecast storm surge of about 1-1.5 metres over the astronomical tide which is likely to inundate low-lying areas of Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur in Tamil Nadu and Nellore district of AP.
Danger signals ranging between five and seven have been hoisted in ports in Chennai and elsewhere in the state, it said.
Nagapattinam received an average rainfall of 90 mm during the 24-hour period ending at 0830 hours.
Senior IAS officer Veershanmugamoni, who has been deputed by the government as flood monitoring officer for the district, and District Collector T Munusamy discussed precautionary measures to tackle the situation.
Munusamy said adequate quantity of all essential commodities had been kept in all the fair price shops in the district. Services of the Coast Guard and Indian Navy would be requisitioned in the event of an emergency, he said.
Paddy crops in thousands of acres remain submerged. Fishermen did not venture into the sea for the third consecutive day.
During the past 24-hours ending at 8:30 AM today, Kollidam recorded the highest rainfall of 155 mm followed by Vedaranyam - 120 mm, Sirkazhi - 105 mm, Nagapattinam - 82 mm, Thirupoondi- 78 mm, Mayiladuthuari - 68 mm and Tarangambadi - 58 mm.
In the Union Territory of Puducherry, which has been battered by rains for the past two days, several low lying areas were inundated.
Official sources told PTI that control rooms had been put in place and toll free phones (1070 or 1077) would also be available for people to contact during exigencies.
A joint meeting of all departments concerned was held where a plan of action was evolved, the sources said.
All schools and colleges would continue to remain closed tomorrow for the third day in succession in view of the squally weather.