The India Meteorological Department on Thursday issued a red alert for eight Kerala districts as heavy rainfall continued to lash parts of the state, PTI reported.

A red alert warns of heavy to extremely heavy rain and prompts authorities to tackle any adverse situation.

The alert was issued for the Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Palakkad and Kannur districts.

The weather agency also issued an orange alert in the remaining districts of the states except for Thiruvananthapuram where a yellow alert has been sounded, warning of heavy rainfall.

An orange alert warns of very heavy rain and the authorities are asked to stay prepared.

The toll due to heavy rainfall and landslides in Kerala rose to 18 on Thursday after six more residents died, according to PTI.

Around, 5,168 residents have been shifted to 102 relief camps in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta, Alappuzha, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Idukki, Thrissur, Malappuram, Wayanad and Kannur, reported The New Indian Express.

Thirty houses have been destroyed due to the heavy downpour since Sunday. Of these, 18 are in the Kannur district.

On Thursday, weather experts said that the adverse weather conditions were due to the influence of cyclonic circulation developed near the North Tamil Nadu coast in the Bay of Bengal, according to The New Indian Express.

Meanwhile, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said that six major dams Ponmudi, Lower Periyar, Kallarkutty, Erattayar and Kundala in Idukki and Moozhiyar in Pathanamthitta districts – have reached red alert water storage levels, PTI reported.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan advised the public to avoid night travel to hilly areas and urged those living near rivers, lakes and disaster-prone areas to shift to relief camps. He also advised against going near rivers with high water levels and that emergency kits should be kept ready at homes.

Separately, the Sabarimala temple also suspended pilgrimage temporarily and urged pilgrims to vacate from Sannidhanam, according to PTI.