The Indian Meteorological Department on Thursday sounded a red alert for heavy rainfall in several districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala as Cyclone Burevi moved close to the two states.

The IMD said in its bulletin at 10.30 am that the cyclone will emerge into the Gulf of Mannar over the next three hours. The cyclone is likely to reach near Tamil Nadu’s Pamban town by noon and cross the south coast of Tamil Nadu between Thursday night and Friday morning.

Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts have been put on red alert by the weather office. Kottayam, Ernakulam and Idukki districts in Kerala are on orange alert.

Heavy rains lashed several parts of Tamil Nadu as well as Puducherry from Wednesday night, reported PTI. Regions under the Cauvery delta zone such as Kodavasal in Tiruvarur district, Nagapattinam, Karaikal, Tiruthuraipoondi, Vedaranyam and Mudukulatur in Ramanathapuram received rainfall between nine centimeter and a maximum of 20 cm since Wednesday night to Thursday morning.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall is also likely in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram, Thoothukudi, Tirunelveli, Tenkasi, Virudhunagar, Theni, Madurai and Sivaganga areas from Thursday to Saturday.

Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan called a high-level meeting of the State Disaster Management Authority and other departments in view of the cyclone.

A National Disaster Response Force team inspected Thiruvananthapuram’s hilly and coastal regions. Fire and rescue teams were cutting down and removing trees and branches that can pose a danger to the public due to heavy rains and wind. “We are fully equipped to deal with any kind of situation,” NDRF sub-inspector KK Ashokan said.

The Thiruvananthapuram administration has also opened 217 relief camps and shifted 15,840 people from disaster-prone areas.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that teams of the National Disaster Response Force have been sent to both the states. “Have spoken to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan in the wake of Cyclone Burevi,” he added. “Modi [Narendra Modi-led] government is committed for all possible support to help people of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to the chief ministers. “We discussed the conditions prevailing in parts of the State due to Cyclone Burevi,” he tweeted on Wednesday. “The Centre will provide all possible support. I pray for the well-being and safety of those living in the areas affected.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that eight teams of the NDRF had been deployed in the seven districts on alert, The Hindu reported. The Indian Air Force and Navy were kept on standby.

Vijayan advised people not to step out of their homes unless absolutely necessary. The Kerala government also earmarked 2,849 relief camps. The chief minister said that as many as 690 people had been moved to 13 camps so far.

For Tamil Nadu, this will be the second cyclonic storm in a week. The coasts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry faced the brunt of the very severe cyclonic storm Nivar in the early hours of November 26. At least three people died due to the cyclone in Tamil Nadu.

The cyclone made landfall after midnight between Puducherry and Marakkanam in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu with gusts of 120 km per hour to 130 km per hour.

The South Indian coast is prone to such storms between October and December, when the North-East monsoon is active over the region.