Sixteen flights, including three international services, were cancelled at the Chennai airport due to bad weather on Friday. The city is expected to receive heavy rain due to Cyclone Mandous.
The Chennai airport’s official Twitter handle urged passengers to check with their airlines for further updates.
The India Meteorological Department has forecast heavy rainfall in several other parts of Tamil Nadu as well, as Cyclone Mandous over the Bay of Bengal intensified into a severe cyclonic storm on Friday.
“It is very likely to maintain its intensity of a severe cyclonic storm during the next six hours and then weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm thereafter,” the weather agency said in its 5.50 am bulletin on Friday.
A severe cyclonic storm is one that is characterised by winds of 89 to 117 kilometres per hour, sustained for at least three minutes.
The storm is likely to make landfall between the coasts of north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh between December 9 night and December 10 morning. It currently lay over 200 km from Karaikal, the weather department said.
Meanwhile, visuals by ANI showed trees uprooted in several parts of Kodaikanal due to strong winds.
The Tamil Nadu government said 12 teams, consisting of up to 400 personnel from the National Disaster Response Force and the state forces have been deployed in 10 districts, including Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Chennai and Cuddalore.
A holiday has also been declared for schools and colleges in 17 districts of Tamil Nadu, reported The New Indian Express. In Karaikal and Puducherry, schools and colleges will remain closed on Saturday also.
On Thursday, a red alert was issued for Chengalpattu, Villupuram and Kanchipuram districts in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry for Friday, reported The Indian Express. An orange alert was also issued for Chennai, Cuddalore, Kallakurichi, Tiruvannamalai, Tirupattur, Vellore, and Ranipet.
A red alert warns of heavy to extremely heavy rain and authorities are asked to tackle any adverse situation. An orange alert asks authorities to stay prepared to deal with any situation arising due to moderate rain.
Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu had also directed officials to ensure that persons living in vulnerable areas are shifted to relief shelters, according to PTI.
The state government has also advised people to avoid travelling on Friday.