Cyclone Gaja to hit coastal Tamil Nadu tonight

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The cyclone Gaja over the South West Bay of Bengal is expected to hit the Tamil Nadu coast tonight. Weather officials said it would make a landfall in between Cuddalore and Pamban, around Nagapattinam. It is found to be laying centered at about 410 km south-east of Chennai and 450 km northeast of Nagapattinam. It is moving at a speed of ten km an hour in the last six hours.

While the Cyclone Gaja makes a landfall, the wind speed is expected to be about 80 to 90 km, gusting to 100 km an hour. Rainfall at most places in the State and Puducherry is expected, with the possibility of isolated heavy rainfall.

“Educational institutions will remain closed in six districts that are more susceptible to the cyclone,” said an IAS officer. Several Universities and polytechnics have rescheduled their examinations today.

A few places in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts may experience extremely heavy rain exceeding 20 centimetres. Some places in these districts are identified as vulnerable to the cyclone.

Senior IAS officers have been nominated to oversee relief measures in five of the districts having long coastlines, where the impact of the cyclone is expected to be more. People in those districts have been asked to be indoors when the cyclone crosses. Fishermen have anchored their boats as the sea is rough.

The Indian Navy has put two of its ships on standby to help authorities in rescue and relief operations. The Southern Railway has cancelled two trains from Rameswaram to Madurai and Trichy for Thursday. The expected rain yesterday, however, has completely given a go by in northern districts including Chennai.

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