The Indian Meteorological Department has issued an alert for heavy rainfall in Chennai and adjoining districts in north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coast from Sunday evening. A regional meteorological centre official said that the “severe cyclonic storm” Vardah is likely to make landfall between Chennai and Ongole on Monday evening, reported The Hindu.

Earlier, the Tamil Nadu Meteorological Department had predicted that Vardah will make a landfall between Nellore and Machilipatnam. The cyclone is at present situated 480km east north-east off Chennai coast. Area Cyclone Warning Centre S Balachandran told The New Indian Express that winds with a speed of 80-90 kmph will blow when the cyclone crosses the coast on Monday evening. However, Vardah is expected to weaken once it makes landfall.

The Tamil Nadu government has declared public holiday on Monday in Kanchipuram, Tiruvallur, Chennai and coastal taluks of Villupuram, reported ANI. Fishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam asked the state disaster management authority to make all arrangements to evacuate people in low lying and vulnerable areas. The state electricity board will also ensure uninterrupted power supply.

The National Disaster Response Force said it is prepared to tackle the situation. NDRF Director General RK Pachnanda said that they have already positioned five teams in Andhra Pradesh and six in Tamil Nadu. “[We are] in constant touch with the state government authorities and Home Ministry. Our teams are ready to move when needed,” he told ANI.

More than 2,000 tourists were stranded on the Andaman islands because of heavy rainfall and the storm caused by the deep depression over the Bay of Bengal. They were all rescued by the Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard on Saturday.