At least 32 people have died due to Cyclone Gaja-related incidents in Tamil Nadu’s delta districts, according to official estimates. Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam between 12.30 am and 2.30 am on Friday. It weakened into a cyclonic storm around 9.30 am on Friday. Schools in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and the Union Territory of Puducherry declared a holiday on account of the rain.
9 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi says he spoke to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami about the situation and has assured all possible help from the Centre.
7.58 pm: As many as 1,471 huts have been partially damaged and 216 fully destroyed by the cyclone, PTI reports. As many as 4,987 trees have been uprooted. Farmer leader PR Pandian says lakhs of coconut trees, plantain and acres of paddy crop have been seriously affected. He demands adequate compensation for the farmers.
7.30 pm: Families in Agastiyampalli and Vedaranyam allege that they have not received any help from state officials over the last 24 hours, The Times of India reports. Infants and children are without food and water.
6.14 pm: District officials say 12 people were killed in cyclone-related deaths in Tiruvarur, two in Nagapattinam, three in Cuddalore, seven in Pudukottai, four in Thanjavur, two in Dindigul and two in Sivagangai.
6.13 pm: Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami says he has updated Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh about the state government’s relief work and the damage and destruction caused by the cyclone in the state.
5.49 pm: Landslides were reported in Kerala’s Idukki, where the State Disaster Management Authority had issued an orange alert for November 16, The News Minute reported.
4.25 pm: Anna University in Chennai postpones exams scheduled for colleges affiliated to the varsity from November 16 and 17 to December 13 and 14, The News Minute reported. Examinations scheduled for the College of Engineering, Guindy, Alagappa College of Technology, Madras Institute of Technology and School of Architecture and Planning will be conducted as scheduled.
4.20 pm: The weather department forecast rain showers for Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki among other parts of Kerala. The department advises fishermen against venturing out into the Arabian Sea and off the Kerala coast for the next 48 hours. The state is recovering from floods in August that affected nearly 55 lakh people in 981 villages across Kerala, killing 483.
4.16 pm: India Meteorological Department records 17 cm rainfall on Friday in Thiruthuraipoondi and Muthupet in Tiruvarur district, 16 cm in Thanjavur district’s Adirampatnam, 14 cm in Peravurani (Thanjavur, Pattukottai (Thanjavur) and Neyveli AWS (Cuddalore).
4.15 pm: Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President MK Stalin praises the Tamil Nadu’s State Disaster Management Authority’s preparatory efforts ahead of the storm.
4.06 pm: Weather department forecast moderate thunderstorm in some areas of Vellore, Salem, Villupuram, Thiruvannamalai, Madurai and Theni districts of Tamil Nadu over the next three hours.
3.31 pm: State officials say nearly 13,000 electric poles were damaged in 13 districts during the storm.
3.30 pm: Southern Railways says train services will resume later on Friday. The Rameshwaram to Chennai Express will begin its journey at 6 pm and the Pallavan Express has been rescheduled and will leave from Chennai Egmore at 7.15.
3.18 pm: Toll in cyclone-related deaths rises to 26, reports Puthiyathalaimurai TV.
2.56 pm: The India Meteorological Department says Cyclone Gaja has weakened into a deep depression and will transition into a depression within six hours.
2.06 pm: Four people die in Dindigul district’s Kodaikanal. With this, the toll in Cyclone Gaja-related incidents rises to 18. The number is likely to increase, officials say.
2.02 pm: The Central Water Commission Official Flood Forecast announces that about 4,680 cusecs water will be released from Vaigai Dam in Theni district. “This release is likely to increase the water level at Sholavandan town, Madurai City. Since it is raining in the lower Vaigai basin, district authorities of Sivaganga, Madurai and Ramanathapuram may take necessary precautions,” it says.
1.51 pm: Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami says Nagapattinam is the worst-affected district.
1.32 pm: Two people die in Tiruvarur, district administration officials tell Scroll.in. With this, the toll in Cyclone Gaja-related incidents rises to 14. The number is likely to increase, officials say, as they are still collecting and assessing details of the damage caused by Gaja.
1.06 pm: Home Minister Rajnath Singh says he spoke to Tamil Nadi Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami regarding the situation in cyclone-affected areas and assured him of assistance from the Centre, reports ANI.
12.47 pm: The Trichy-Karaikudi toll plaza was damaged in the strong winds from Cyclone Gaja, reports The Times of India.
12.34 pm: Scenes of destruction from Pattukottai in Thanjavur district.
12.22 pm: The cyclone is likely to move westwards and will weaken into a deep depression within three hours, says IMD’s latest 11.30 am bulletin.
12.16 pm: Cyclone Gaja’s path from November 16 to 17
12 pm: Heavy rainfall is being reported from Dindugul, Karur, Thiruvarur, Tirupur, Madurai and Theni.
11.59 am: So far, four people have died in Thanjavur district, three each in Pudukottai and Cuddalore districts, and two people in Sivaganga, district collectorate officials confirm to Scroll.in.
11.55 am: Emergency contact numbers for districts affect by the cyclone. Emergency contact numbers for districts are:
Nagapattinam - 9443500728, 9843810579, 9003322566
Cuddalore - 04142-220700
Tiruvarur - 04366-226623
Pudukottai - 04322-222207
Thanjavur - 04362-230121
Ramanathapuram - 04567-230060
11.45 am: Tamil Nadu Revenue Minister RB Udaya Kumar says the government has handled the cyclone situation successfully. “This was a challenging task...we are confident that we have faced it safely 100%,” PTI quotes him as saying. All post-cyclone tasks, like cleaning up storm-affected areas, has already begun, he says, adding that the government is assessing damage to properties.
11.32 am: Nagapattinam Collector C Sureshkumar says officials from the Public Works Department and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board are working on a war-footing to remove uprooted trees and restore electricity, News18 reports. The district administration has begun the process of assessing damage caused by the cyclone, he adds.
11.30 am: Palaniswami, who is currently in Salem, announces Rs 1 lakh as compensation to people grievously injured in incidents related to Cyclone Gaja. People who were not seriously injured will get Rs 25,000 as solatium, he adds, according to Puthiyathalaimurai TV.
11.16 am: Cuddalore district has been moderately affected, says Gangandeep Singh Bedi, the officer in charge for disaster management in the region.
11.14 am: Nearly 82,000 people have been evacuated to relief centres, adds Palaniswami.
11.10 am: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announces that 11 people have died in the state so far, according to Tamil daily Dinakaran. He adds that the victims’ families will be given Rs 10 lakh as compensation.
10.45 am: At least 11 people have died in Cyclone Gaja-related incidents in Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Cuddalore districts, reports The Hindu.
10.20 am: Several trains have been cancelled. Flights have also been diverted from the Trichy airport due to heavy winds and rain.
10.10 am: Madurai faces heavy rain, reports The Times of India.
Till 5.30 am on Friday, Cuddalore received 8 cm of rainfall, Nagapattinam 5 cm, and Puducherry and Karaikkal got 5 cm each, according to NDTV.
10 am: Cyclone Gaja causes severe damage to Karaikal as several houses are destroyed and power supply has been disrupted, reports The Hindu.
9.40 am: The storm is likely to weaken into a deep depression within the next six hours, says the IMD’s latest bulletin.
9.30 am: Gaja weakens into cyclonic storm about 95 km west of Athirampattinam and 110 km northeast of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority announces citing an IMD bulletin.
9 am: National Disaster Response Force teams carry out clearance works in Nagapattinam.
8.30 am: Schools in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and the Union Territory of Puducherry declare holidays.
8.20 am: More than 76,200 people have been evacuated from low lying areas and moved to more than 300 relief centres in six districts, including Nagapattinam, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur, says state disaster response management body.
8.10 am: The Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority said at 5.30 am that the storm was 15 km northwest of Athirampattinam in Thanjavur district with wind speed of up to 110 km per hour recorded. It is likely to weaken gradually into a cyclonic storm within three hours.
8 am: Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crosses the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam between 12.30 am and 2.30 am on Friday, PTI reports. Wind speed up to 120 km per hour recorded.
Rain lashed Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, and Thanjavur as the cyclone made landfall. Trees were uprooted in several regions. Electricity supply in Nagapattinam and coastal regions got disconnected. Four teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been deployed in Nagapattinam while two teams of the State Disaster Response Force are in Cuddalore district.
Government helpline numbers are 1070 (state-level) and 1077 (districts).